If you were to judge Frank Adam’s character by his art, you’d only be half right. I am always struck by the solitude in his work, because he’s really quite personable, quick to laughter, generous, and fun. His images are so polished and thoughtful. Even shots of debris have an air about them. I’d expect to see his work hanging in a New York penthouse, but if he was invited to a cocktail party in said penthouse, he’d probably wear flannel and bring his own beer.
While thinking about my questions for him, I expected him to joke a bit in his responses, but again, he surprised me. When it comes to art, Frank is more a thinker and a craftsman than a playful tinkerer.
Buy his work for your study, invite him over for a beer, and you’ll see what I mean.
You recently moved to Baltimore and bought a home with 3(4?) times as much space as you had previously. Has it altered the direction of your work to have that much space? How so? What about Baltimore do you love the most?
I am always scheming to make larger and more complicated things. Having room for a workshop and a studio is an amazing situation which I plan on taking full advantage of in the future. In the meantime, some settling in is still happening and I am continuing to make smaller photographic works.
I love Baltimore for many reasons.
It’s a very old port city, mysterious, and steeped in tradition. The people are friendly and laid back. Residents of the city seem to embrace the strange and eccentric here a bit more than usual.
The city itself actively supports the arts and has an interest in Baltimore’s burgeoning arts economy. This investment by city hall and management by both the city and BoPA has begun to revitalize many neighborhoods throughout the city providing beautification of blighted areas and providing new jobs to residents.
On a more personal note Baltimore is the mysterious city from many childhood memories. The one you visited on special occasions. Even though I grew up 30 miles away out in rural Maryland I still feel like its always been home in a way. There are streets I’ve been down before but can’t remember when.
You work at the National Gallery. How has it affected your attitude about art to be surrounded by it every day?
Constant and daily exposure to such a prestigious and wonderful collection has, and will continue to have a major impact on my life. The National Gallery can act as a sort of temple for artists. There is spirituality here for certain.
In your Relic series you scanned manipulated Gideon Bibles. Do you find the Bibles a difficult act to follow due to their innately heavy content and complex associations?
Yes, its loaded imagery for sure. I’m mainly interested in the mass production of a modern myth, although I’m still trying to nail down that visual translation. The manipulation can be seen as destruction but not by the artists hand, purely incidental. Gideon bibles are manufactured 2 per second in over 93 languages according to Gideons International.
What are you working on now?
Scanning odd objects and isolating them as well. Not unlike the bibles.
Have you made any discoveries in your practice as a result of becoming a member of Project Dispatch and making work for subscriptions?
I really like sending people artwork and speculating their reaction in my minds eye. It makes me want to include other items, to make them puzzle over the total package.
If you could pick three artists from the Project to subscribe to, who would they be?
You mean aside from Chandi and Rachel.. hmmm definitely Kristoffer and probably Deborah. Finally maybe a tie between Kendall and Allison.
To learn more about Frank and his work, please visit www.truantshutter.com.
If you order a subscription to Frank anytime in the month of April, you will receive a 10% discount.
Beer not included.