You might remember him from his work with the Moldy Peaches, his solo albums or even last year’s film, shot completely on an iPhone, The Wrong Ferrari. But Adam Green has yet another life: fine artist. Next week, Green’s latest exhibit, titled Cartoon and Complaint, will open at Intercourse Exhibition Space, aritist Dustin Yellin’s Brooklyn Gallery. We caught up with Green to find out about the work he’s showing, his partnership with Yellin and just what Snow White has to do with his art.
You’re a pretty prolific visual artist, in addition to the other work you make. What itch does visual art scratch the music and other mediums don’t?
When I started out, I wanted to become the Woody Allen of music, but I only got to half realize that vision before it all got effed up. Now I’m entering into phase two of life, but it’s not like I never painted before. Being a kid makes you want to draw cartoons, I drew them with my babysitter. I used to draw all those superheroes before I got into folk music. But it wasn’t really until I started making The Wrong Ferarri that I got back in touch with my visual aesthetic. So it’s kinda like I wanted to make songs that were like paintings and then I wanted to make a movie that was like a song. Now I want to make a painting in all those different directions to fill in the cracks between the movies and the songs.
How did you and Dustin begin working together and what makes you work well as collaborators?
We never collaborated on artwork. I’ve been coming to his studio for a few years, it’s like an amusement park. Dustin’s studio is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been, I feel like the luckiest guy on earth to be exhibiting there. I met him at the Bowery Hotel it was quite wild. I dunno if it’s because we are similar or different but we get along well and have many common interests, for instance we both like making artwork and we both like Snow White.
What’s your artistic process like? How does an Adam Green work come into being?
My process is a negotiation between a bunch of different parts of my personality. In order to make something I have to convince myself that it’s a really good idea and I usually have to feel it pretty intensely. Some of my ideas are just things that I’ve had in my head for years that I’m just getting around to painting. Some stuff is from my dreams. But mostly I just get struck by something in my head and it’s very vivid and I can taste it and then I can just sit down and bang it out. That’s how they made up Donald Duck.
Are there living artists you admire or whose work is incredibly abhorrent to you?
Yeah, I like Frank Auerbach and George Condo. Peter Berlin is also great. For a while I tried to run an online periodical called The Lake Room and that was inspired by Cory Kennedy’s blog. Obviously I like Dustin’s work a lot! I won’t name names but I really despise a few artists yet follow their careers pretty closely. I’m really into that.
What kind of art hangs in your own home?
I have a piece by Al Hansen and also a bunch of paintings and artwork by friends hanging up.
"Here we have Farmer Dave in a hospital bed. He’s having a DMT trip and seeing all kinds of Mayan visions. Because of this he’s seeing extra eyes everywhere. The back of that horse is the same as Bill Traylor’s blue cow. It almost looks like something from the side of a cave."
"This contains a few symbols—the stacked red-cartoon character to the right, the halo-head, and the Centaur… and the Martian. Sometimes these little buddies like to hang out together. I sympathize with centaurs because they can only relate to the world sexually."
"I’ve depicted myself here as Aladdin with the lamp. I’ve been preparing to star in my own version of Aladdin and this was just to get myself ready for the role and also a story-boarding technique."