(July 23, 2011)
Telephone Poles. Rats. Love. Life. Patterns: Interview with Emily L. R. Adams
Credit: Brittney McCormick
McCormick: What is your name?
Adams: My name is Emily Louise Ruth Adams. AKA Emily “Lou Rat” Adams. In art school I went by the nickname Lou. Recently, a close friend of mine confessed that she thought the “R” actually stood for “Rat”. Ha! I love it, I thought, I’ll keep it. Rats have always seemed to be a part of my life; from my first tattoo, to reoccurring images of rats in my artwork, it seems like a natural fit to my name.
McCormick: What is your quest?
Adams: My quest is to share. To share experience, memories, excitement, confusion, you name it. We’re in this thing together, so let’s do this thing together. I get so excited about different experiences and ideas that I need to share the intensity of it all. The best way that I know how, is to make art about it. At its essence, art is communication. The more accessible and a part of daily life that art can become, the more open dialogue we can share.
McCormick: What is your favorite color?
Adams: Rust is my favorite color. Basically the variety of deep warm earthy burnt orange reddish hues. I like rust color because it is warm, dark and bold, yet the reality is that rust is fragile decay. Evidence of time, rust is a living thing/dying thing.
McCormick: Your known around town for your paintings and screen prints. How long have you been working with the two mediums?
Adams: It was high school when I began to develop my technical skills with drawing and painting. But not until Columbus College of Art and Design that I realized that printmaking was a true passion of mine. This was eight years ago. I remember that you couldn’t drag me out of the print lab if the building was on fire. To this day, I simply feel euphoric working with the medium. The layering of images and the stages of processes give endless possibilities for style and aesthetic of a printed artwork.
McCormick: What inspires your designs?
Adams: I am a list maker, so here we go: City Streets. Telephone Poles. Buildings. Trains. Rats. Love. Life. Memories. Time. Loss. Death. Paradox. Freedom. Politics. Tattoos. Color Schemes. Faces. Handwriting. Power. Decay. Impressions. Patterns.
McCormick: Any awesome project that you’re currently working on or anything you’re looking forward to in the near future?
Adams: I am extremely excited about my latest series of photographic screen prints. I have spent the last couple of years setting up a studio where I can create works using my own photographic images. The process requires a darkroom, high water pressure and a decent amount of space. The images I work with either come from my “resource library” of previously taken photographs, or if I need something specific, I’ll go out on a photo shoot. I then process everything digitally and burn (expose) it to a screen that has been treated with light sensitive emulsion. My next series are the Ohio River bridges on wood panel. These will be the largest in scale that I have ever worked in screen printing.
McCormick: Who are your 3 favorite artist?
Adams: It’s difficult to narrow it down to just three artists. There are so many significant works and fantastic artists that have enlightened me at one time or another.
Barbara Kruger – Her bold style and poignant messages are those that are truly eye catching and confrontational. Message bold works in the public space billboards. Putting the concept out there. The viewer does not have to step into the gallery to see her work.
Diane Arbus – Her ability to create soul arresting photographs of people. To work with them as a photographer to capture a truth about them.
Shepard Fairey – Like Kruger his primary environment for displaying his work is in our city-scapes rather than gallery spaces.
McCormick: What music do you listen to while you work?
Adams: Lyrically heavy music. I tend to listen to a lot of 50’s and 60’s music. When I get tired of all the love song crap, I’ll put on hip-hop. It’s funny, but when I get into a project I need to be somewhat distracted from my analytical thought process. It’s easier to enjoy the act of creation then critique and adjust the work later after I have had time to observe the work as it’s own thing.
McCormick: Where can we find you and your work on the interweb? Any shops here in town caring your handmade goodness?
I’ve been working with a friend put together a group show called The Undertow Art Show,themed “Against the Current”
July 30th from 2pm-11pm
McCormick: What’s a typical day like for you?
Adams: Computer work in the mornings. Either updating my website or preparing and printing images to burn (expose) into screens.
6 hours at my day job then to the woodshop, preparing surfaces to be screen printed onto.
Either darkroom using light sensitive photo emulsion to burn (expose) my images into the screens / Or cleaning old images from screens for the cycle to begin again.
Printing and dreaming up new projects to get started on.
Weekends is when I generally get out of the house with my camera and build on my library of images to work with.