Over the last several years, I have heard the name Adam Brouillette so many times in connection with the Columbus art scene that I was thrilled when I finally got to meet him several weeks ago at the Tacocat Opening for the Lustron Show. And what an opportune time to meet him and do an interview…just before his wedding and an amazing show called “Happy Together” (more about that later in this post)
First, let’s talk about Adam, his art and his background. He is a graduate of CCAD, received a BFA with a focus on printmaking and drawing and also attended additional college to receive a teaching certification from Ashland University, but ultimately decided to start a business instead of teaching. Fortunate for all of us that he made that choice!
Born in the Chicago area, Adam and his family moved to the burbs of Cleveland. Although he didn’t care much for living in the burbs, he has learned to appreciate the great education he received there. Living there also allowed him to play music in bands and skateboard; both of which have influenced the direction he has gone in his art and life. Originally, he wanted to draw comics cause he loves them and Calvin and Hobbes (my all time fav!). However, while in college he found printmaking, starting working in the lab and fell in love with making his own creations rather than working for someone who would tell him what to draw.
Adam works primarily under his name, but his work has been sold under Little Red Men previously, and has developed into a business littleINDUSTRIES which he uses for both his fine art sales and his design business. His business has been operating under those names since 2001.
When asked to categorize his art, he stated:
I consider my work modern narrative painting. I do not consider myself a “pop artist”. I do not consider my work neo-folk, low brow, or graffiti style. I don’t like being placed in those categories. I appreciate my training as an artist, and hope to produce meticulous and well thought out narrative paintings inspired by modern graphics, advertising and cartoons. But ultimately, I feel more like a Norman Rockwell than an Andy Warhol.
Everything can be inspirational for him. Life has a lot to react to. People. Dreams. Culture. Momentum. Energy. Science. Discovery. All of those things inspire and interest him. Tactile inspiration comes from LEGOs, the space program, maps and flags, cereal boxes, advertising, and cartoons. People who inspire him are Benjamin Franklin, David Attenborough, early space program figures, Chef Gordon Ramsay, Leonardo DaVinci and Yoshitomo Nara.
He considers himself to be ” just a painter” because he doesn’t think he does anything groundbreaking as far as technique goes, just tries to keep things very flat, being very careful and intentional about color selection and palette, and try to keep things as clean and organized as possible. Funny that he thinks of himself as ‘just a painter’ as he was honored a few years ago with the Greater Columbus Emerging Arts Leader Award…I think that indicates that he is more!
I spend my life making things I love and working on artwork, design work and helping other artists however I can. I think being consumed and immersed, I don’t really think of it as a process. I think of it more as just my every day.
Dozens of galleries, universities, art centers, and museums, mainly in the Columbus area, have shown and sold his works. His works have also been purchased for private collections and shown on both coasts. He has had work entered in a few collections in the past year or so… most notably, the Hilton Collection in downtown Columbus where his piece ‘The Great Wave 2.0’ in the main lobby across from the restaurant. Very cool as the Hilton company purchased work from several local artists to either place in the rooms or throughout the lobbies and is tied to the national Hilton Collection! Currently, he is creating a new body of work to be exhibited at a later date (will keep us posted!), has his prints displayed at several locations around Columbus and will have a smaller exhibition in the fall at Bexley Library. His work will also be going to Asheville NC later in the year! Whew! Lots going on for this young man!!
Although he is currently part of the 12 person team that is Tacocat Cooperative, that is not his first foray into cooperative artist communities. Prior to Tacocat, he was a part of Junctionview Studios, and was a member of the Couchfire Collective. In addition, he has helped organize and run several dozen exhibitions and events, most notably Agora 1-10 and Independents’ Day Festival 1-7(current). As he states:
I appreciate the opportunities I have had at the various venues I have been in, but I also believe that if you want to be an artist and make a living, that you should be responsible for creating your own opportunities as well.
In that vane, Adam has combined his wedding with an art show! In May he will be marrying the lovely and talented Meghan Kwast (also a Tacocat member) but ever the artist, the wedding will be the culmination of an art show entitled “Happy Together”. As a side note, Adam and Meghan met when she worked at Adriattico’s Pizza where he would frequnetly go to watch basketball games. A friendship formed but Meghan moved to Cleveland. Seems that city has also played a pivotal role in his love life because after his niece was born, he gave her a call to let her know and the rest is history! Meghan moved back to Columbus with her little black cat, Harold, joining Adam and his little black dog Zoe, creating a happy together of their own!
Now back to the art…LOL! He and Meghan asked 50 artists to create work based on the theme or idea of lifelong happiness and togetherness. They asked married, unmarried, divorced, gay, straight, young and old all to create work based on the theme. The show runs from April 19- May 24 at the Cultural Arts Center (CAC) and is open to the public during those dates. All of the artists invited to contribute are also invited to Adam and Meghan’s wedding (along with other friends and family) so their wedding will not only BE a wedding, it will be an artists’s reception! Seems fitting, huh?
As if that, building a table for his apartment, organizing events at Tacocat, and running his own studio aren’t enough, he is once again organizing the Independents’ Day Festival for September 19-21st in its new location in Franklinton and running the Chalk the Block at Easton Town Center on September 27th. AND here and there he is part of many small shows that can be found on his website (see below)
As for the future? Adam’s dreams are big. He believes that Tacocat and places like it play a major role in making a city like Columbus a great place to live. In his words: Creative spaces are the undefinable, functional and desirable glue that binds our culture together and make is work efficiently. I’ve had dreams to make something bigger. I think the combining of creative disciplines in an intentional way is both needed and desired. I think doing so on a grand scale could yield results unlike what has been witnessed in Columbus to date. There are many hurdles to overcome, but as our city becomes more aware of the benefit the various studios, art centers and galleries has on our community, the more likely it will be to eventually happen in a major way.
In regards to his own art work, he prefers to take the ‘tortoise route’. He’d like to continue making what he makes, showing and ultimately, proving himself to be a durable commodity in the art world rather than a flash in the pan. Being rich and famous instantly is not the route he wants to travel. Working as artist/designer full time for over 10 years has helped him use his skills for other purposes – to show that artists are a valuable commodity to any community. I will continue to make my work and develop my skills. I will continue to show and sell work. What comes of it, I’m not worried about. I will keep striving to increase my quality and things will play out as they will.
After learning more about this man, I think things will play out for him and those that surround him in a pretty significant way not only for him but for our fair capital!
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