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Artist Interviews

Interview with Conceptual Collagist Adam Robinson

"Nostalgia, memory and recent history are the main themes of my work. The concept of revival is important to me; the notion of bringing discarded objects from the past back into a present-day and contemporary context."

By Rise Art | 19 Jul 2021

Adam Robinson’s work is an exploration of nostalgia, pattern and the relationship between the two. An artist for the modern-day, Adam ‘repurposes’ materials he finds in flea markets and car boot sales, creating new narratives with forgotten matter. Whether using one-of-a-kind objects he chanced upon whilst travelling, or sourcing previously mass-produced objects that are now rare artefacts, Adam’s ordered and geometric approach to collage makes for aesthetically intriguing artworks, each with their own intricately woven narrative.

 

Saint-Germain by Adam Robinson

 

How would you describe your style?

Pattern-led contemporary collage with a focus on repetition, colour and 20th-century history in the form of cultural ephemera.

 

What message do you want to get across with your work?

Nostalgia, memory and recent history are the main themes of my work. The concept of revival is important to me; the notion of bringing discarded objects from the past back into a present-day and contemporary context.

The processes of collecting and arranging are other important factors – why and what motivates a person to do these things is fascinating to me.

 

Homemaker by Adam Robinson

 

Has collage always been your primary medium?

In the early days of my art practice, my work was more aligned with assemblage. I used to forage the streets of Sydney for discarded items of furniture and other household objects to turn into artworks.

Since moving to the UK I became more interested in collage and I'm now drawn to smaller and more delicate paper-based artefacts.

 

Where do you source the found materials you use in your work?

I rarely miss an opportunity to explore flea markets, car boot sales, and charity stores, both locally and when I'm on vacation. I genuinely love the process of hunting for potential treasures and can spend many hours doing so given the chance.

Increasingly, I make use of online outlets and I am even occasionally gifted items from people who would rather see their old belongings transformed rather than tossed out.

 

East Side of Horseshoe Falls by Adam Robinson

 

Do you start each work with a clear vision of what you want to create?

I'm a conceptual artist and very methodical, so a clear vision before I begin is paramount before executing each piece.

The materials I utilise may have been mass-produced in their day but they can be hard to find now, so there is usually very little room for error when I start assembling a piece. Experimentation happens in the earlier planning stages when I sketch out designs and play with colour combinations and arrangements.

 

What's an average day like in your studio?

Each day is different depending on what stage I'm at with a piece. Typically I am sorting through and organising my finds, designing the overall layout or cutting and glueing the materials as I create each artwork.

I like to work in silence during the planning stages, however, I will listen to music and podcasts during the assemblage stage as I find it helps with the more repetitive elements of my art practice.

 

Red Centre by Adam Robinson

 

What/Who are your key influences? Have these changed over the years?

Architecture and the built environment give me great inspiration today, along with contemporary artists Julie Cockburn, Michael Johansson and Sophie Smallhorn.

This has been a shift from my years growing up in Australia where I was more influenced by the natural world. Back then some of the Australian artists that inspired me the most were Colin Lanceley, Rosalie Gascoigne and John Brack.

 

Maos de Fada 2 by Adam Robinson

 

Who are some Rise Art artists with work you're enjoying at the moment?

I love the bright colour palette of Tim Fowler's work, the pop art motifs of Dan Baldwin's pieces and by way of contrast, the serene and delicate, geometric sculptures of Susan Phillips.

 

Are you currently working on any exciting new projects?

I have just begun a series of large artworks using vintage comics from the early 1970's. Comics were a part of my childhood so I'm enjoying the nostalgic rush of working with these materials.

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