OpenRoad Driver Volume 15 Issue 1 - Page 92

92 » OpenRoad Driver I used to fight it. I’ve made things for an area and sometimes the site or building just rejects it. I’m always making offerings and sometimes I’m rejected so I look for another place or the piece is temporarily stored, or I just push on through. Maybe that’s what art always does to artists. There’s no easy trip and there’s no easy friendship to making art, at least not for me. It’s always been something that bites back. You can go to bed at night and think it’s working, and the next day it just says no, “you’re wrong.” The bus is part of an opus that spans forty years. It’s a body of work that has earned Adams the Gershon Iskowitz Prize (2012), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2013) and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2014). Adams is typically understated, but appreciative, reflecting on the trifecta of acknowledgments, “It’s not too often I’m awarded anything. A bit of a shock all around. It’s a nice thing, and then it disappears and you go back to reality. It felt nice to be acknowledged and I wished my parents were still alive.” Adams’ engineer father figures prominently as the artist recounts the major events that have informed his thinking and creative process. His father moved the family to Australia in Adams’ earlier years. All the while, he tinkered with cars and other objects, searching for the next feat of subversive engineering. “My dad took a V8 engine and put it in something else to make it go faster. He was always working on cars. I was the youngest and he triggered me off into this other world. Luckily we went to Australia and the world was different. Then Canada and that really changed us, seeing things we would never see even in nature, attitude or cultural difference. Then coming back I always had this thing. It’s a split world where things are different.” Like father, like son. I find a rich springboard to delve further into Adams’ creative process, his “beautiful mind” of sorts. He is easygoing, generous and completely open as we talk about the origins Auto Lamp, 2008 Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid of some of his definitive and best-known pieces, chuckling and laughing as we unearth some unexpected revelations. I ask him what gives him great pleasure these days, and he responds with an understated answer, “To get to this point and be able to still work, that’s a pleasure. My happy spot is making...sitting down and working at the stuff...and sometimes being rewarded with the work just being friendly back to me. (laughing) The art world is what keeps me alive and keeps me on my toes,” he says smilingly. Canadian art would be a great benefactor of many more years of Kim Adams. We could all use many more revelations of his split worlds, ones that somehow recombine into glorious and playful new meanings. What a bash that will be. How does your creative process work? Do you bolt up in bed with an idea or see things visually before creation or...? KA: I don’t bolt up, for sure. I don’t trust that one (laughing). When you’re younger you do grab at a lot of things, but after forty years it’s just what sticks. Fast work is very rare for me now. For example, working on models, some take maybe ten years to finish. I have shelves around the studio and they can sit there until they come back to me a year or five years later. As for process, a place has its own mind and BRUEGEL-BOSCH BUS Volkswagen split-window van, model kits, figurines, toys Varying size 1997-ongoing The world’s a funny place. Who could’ve predicted Hamilton as the host of a 1960s VW van covered in objects, and named after Dutch masters Pieter Bruegel and Hieronymus Bosch? Two worlds and fantastic landscapes that you’ve been expanding every year for the past twenty years. How much of the growth is organic versus planned? KA: The only planned thing is I wanted a split-window Volkswagen bus. I didn’t want one that was restored. By accident I found one going home from Barrie to my studio in Cookstown and there were two sitting there in a yard. I wanted the look of a split window because it’s skeletal and looks like a head. It’s more than the character of a Volkswagen, it’s like a skull. I knew I wanted to interact miniatures into it somehow, and then it just grew. A lot of mistakes were made but there have been lots of years to correct it. At first it was just to the flat deck but then I just kept pushing it up and up. No matter how high you go, you can still see that world of miniatures mixed in with the large or real. What wins? Does the miniature win or is the Volkswagen still holding together? There’s this funny ambition between the two surviving. There’s so much growth on it but the Volkswagen is still there. The bus is a pretty large chunk of my existence. I could spend a lot more time on it. I fight for time. I do interact with the public and preparatory staff. It’s a piece that has its history there. There are some people that 92 » OpenRoad Driver I used to fight it. I’ve made things for an area and sometimes the site or building just rejects it. I’m always making offerings and sometimes I’m rejected so I look for another place or the piece is temporarily stored, or I just push on through. Maybe that’s what art always does to artists. There’s no easy trip and there’s no easy friendship to making art, at least not for me. It’s always been something that bites back. You can go to bed at night and think it’s working, and the next day it just says no, “you’re wrong.” BRUEGEL-BOSCH BUS Auto Lamp, 2008 Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid The bus is part of an opus that spans forty years. It’s a body of work that has earned Adams the Gershon Iskowitz Priz R#"wVvvVVfVw6#2BFPvfW&"vVW&( 2v&Bf7V@VF'G2#BF22G6ǐVFW'7FFVB'WB&V6FfR&VfV7FrFRG&fV7Fb6vVFvVG2( ėN( 2@FgFV( v&FVBFr&Bb66&VBN( 26RFrBFV@F6V'2BRv&6F&VƗGBfV@6RF&R6vVFvVBBv6VBא&VG2vW&R7FƗfR( ФF>( VvVW"fFW"fwW&W2&֖VFǐ2FR'F7B&V6VG2FR"WfVG2F@fRf&VB2F涖rB7&VFfP&6W722fFW"fVBFRf֖ǒFW7G&ƖF>( V&ƖW"V'2FPvRRFW&VBvF6'2BFW &V7G26V&6rf"FRWBfVB`7V'fW'6fRVvVW&r( גFBFcVvRBWBB6WFrV6RFPBvf7FW"Rv2v2v&r6'2ऒv2FRVvW7BBRG&vvW&VBRf`FF2FW"v&BV6ǒvRvVBFW7G&ƖBFRv&Bv2FffW&VBFV6FBFB&Vǒ6vVBW26VVpFw2vRvVBWfW"6VRWfVGW&RGFGVFR"7VGW&FffW&V6RFV6֖p&6v2BF2FrN( 27ƗBv&@vW&RFw2&RFffW&VB( ƖRfFW"ƖP6ऒfB&67&v&&BFFVfRgW'FW FF>( 7&VFfR&6W722( &VWFgV֖N( b6'G2R2V7vrvVW&W2@6WFVǒV2vRFƲ&WBFR&v0b6Rb2FVfFfRB&W7BֶvV6W26V6ƖrBVvr2vRVV'F6RVWV7FVB&WfVF2ऒ6vBvfW2w&VBV7W&RFW6PF2BR&W7G2vFVFW'7FFV@7vW"( FvWBFF2BB&R&RF7Fv&FN( 2V7W&Rג7@2r6GFrFvBv&r@FR7GVfbB6WFW2&Vr&Wv&FV@vFFRv&W7B&Vrg&VFǒ&6FRVvrFR'Bv&B2vBVW0RƗfRBVW2RגFW2( R606֖Ɩvǒ6F'BvVB&Rw&VB&VVf7F"`&RV'2bF2vR6V@W6R&R&WfVF2b27Ɨ@v&G2W2FB6Vr&V6&RFv&W2BgVWrVw2vB&6FBv&RआrFW2W"7&VFfR&6W70v&FR&BW&VBvFFV"6VRFw2f7Vǒ&Vf&P7&VF"F( B&BWf"7W&RF( BG'W7BF@RVvrvV^( &RVvW"RFw&"BBbFw2'WBgFW"f'GV'0N( 2W7BvB7F62f7Bv&2fW'&&Rf Rrf"WRv&rFV26RFR&RFVV'2Ff6fP6VfW2&VBFR7GVFBFW66@FW&RVFFW6R&6FRV" ffRV'2FW"2f"&6W726R2G2v֖B@fƷ7vvV7ƗBvFrfFVG2fwW&W2F0f'r6PrvpFRv&N( 2gV6Rv6VN( fR&VF7FVB֖F0FR7Bbc2erf6fW&VB&V7G2BVBgFW GWF67FW'2WFW"''VVvV@W&W2&66Gvv&G2@fF7F2G66W2FB^( fP&VVWFrWfW'V"f"FP7BGvVGV'2rV6bFPw&wF2&v2fW'7W2VCFRǒVBFr2vFV@7ƗBvFrfƷ7vvV'W2FF( @vBRFBv2&W7F&VB'66FV@fVBRvrRg&&'&RFג7GVF67FvBFW&RvW&PGv6GFrFW&R&BvFVBFPb7ƗBvFr&V6W6RN( 26VWFB2ƖRVBN( 2&RFFP6&7FW"bfƷ7vvVN( 2ƖR6VऒWrvFVBFFW&7B֖GW&W0FB6VrBFVBW7Bw&WrBb֗7FW2vW&RFR'WBFW&RfP&VVG2bV'2F6'&V7BBBf'7B@v2W7BFFRfBFV6'WBFVW7@WBW6rBWBWGFW"pvRvR67F6VRFBv&B`֖GW&W2֗VBvFFR&vR"&VvBv3FW2FR֖GW&Rv 2FRfƷ7vvV7FFrFvWFW#FW&^( 2F2gV&F&WGvVVFPGv7W'ffrFW&^( 26V6w&wFগB'WBFRfƷ7vvV27FFW&RFR'W02&WGG&vR6VbגW7FV6R6VB7VBB&RFRBfv@f"FRFFW&7BvFFRV&Ɩ2@&W&F'7FfbN( 2V6RFB2G07F'FW&RFW&R&R6RVRF