We recently asked one of our contributing artists, Adam Doyle, a few questions about himself and his artwork, in order to learn more about him as an individual. With a distinct style that is readily seen through the texture invoked on his pieces, Doyle gives a unique light to the subjects of his paintings-literally and figuratively!
Who are you and how would you describe your art style?
"My name is Adam S Doyle and I’m an artist and illustrator. I don't really have a concise description for my artwork, which I'm ok with, as my discipline is in making images, not writing. In a typical situation, say at a party, when the person I'm talking with inquires into my work and isn't satisfied with a one word answer (I paint) I'll tell them about the themes that propel my work. Describing what they look like doesn't do anyone any good. Right so there's usually a task at hand, the theme of a group show or the narrative of a book cover. Underneath that though, there are several qualities that drive my need to make pictures. All the wealth and success is just a bonus. Jk. I have roommates and cats.
Ok so I'll gesticulate with my hands as I'm prone to do, careful not to spill my drink, and begin by telling them about how images are a means for me to reinforce our connection to nature. Of course, I make a lot of images around technology, but ultimately I think that we need to be reminded that we came from the earth. Next I'll speak to them about the legacy of the human mark. Meaning, since the first images appeared on cave walls, the stroke of paint is the human way of saying "I was here. I exist." It's the purest form of autobiography. That same mark turns a blank surface into a living being and a vast landscape. The transformation is magic. It really is. My work is about keeping that window between the canvas and the living bird open, so to speak. Both exist simultaneously. And if my companion hasn't walked off to find a more normal conversation, I'll end by telling them about how growing up with the practice of Eastern medicine has instilled in me a curiosity around energy. I'm compelled to grapple with it. To visualize it. Depicting energy in people, animals, and the world around us not just an exercise in empathy. It's what I believe to be true."
What type of work do you enjoy most?
"When I make a piece that surprise me and excites people. I love when my paintings pop, when they take on a life of their own. When they make the person looking at it go woah. I enjoy the disciplines of fine art and illustration for different reasons. Doing pieces for gallery shows is challenging because of the openness. Whereas illustration is engaging because of the necessity to address the constraints of the narrative (not to mention the opinions of the editors). While I do gravitate towards sci fi, fantasy, and reality that's a bit pliable, I expect of myself that tasked with the mundane, such as depicting a teapot, I could find a way in to make it come alive."
What is your favorite piece of art work?
"Oh man, there's so much out there that's inspired and influenced me over the years. Books, songs, films, sculptures, plays. For the sake of specificity, I'll cite a lesser known piece from a famous painter that I think you're audience will appreciate. Take John Singer Sargent, the American painter whose claim to fame was portraiture of high society and is still admired by artists for his deft brushwork. He also did mythological and religious narratives, both of which are in Boston. The Museum of Fine Arts has wonderful murals depicting the Greek myths. We'll go to The Boston Public Library, which has a small wing housing an eclectic array of religious motifs of his from around the world executed in the late 18 to early 1900s. The piece that gets me is tucked high up on the wall, titled Hell, illustrates the devil gorging on souls. It’s so barbaric. So visceral. The weight of the tangled bodies. The collision of feral maw and twisted human body. The play with scale. The strange phthalo green with gilded, swirling flames. I love its brutal beauty."
Do you have a dream project?
"In a manner of speaking, my career is my dream project. I've put a lot of effort into being able to paint for a living. As long as I'm doing that I'm happy. But I do have a fantasy that I can briefly talk about. It's more of a dream in terms of the unlikeliness of it every happening.
The plan would be to build a temple or church-like building. From the outside it'd look architecturally familiar, but not recognizably related to any religion you're aware of. Inside you'd be bowled over by the beauty. It'd be full of light and warmth. This place is a dedication to the creative spirit. For most of human history art has been utilized by religious systems to tell their story. I want to build a space that honors the craft of art itself, by telling the story of individual ingenuity, movements, and cultural dialogues. Unlike a museum, this isn't about warehousing what's been deemed valuable. I want to recognize this magical thing we humans do, as it is a means for connection, contemplation, observation, and exploration. No dogma. No rules. Nothing to buy. Nothing to be convinced of. Nothing but appreciation for the hands-on act of imagination and invention.
I enjoy interior design. Creating spaces that are open and comfortable, detailed with ornamentation and space to breathe. Light is paramount. Here the windows would usher in columns of sunlight throughout the day. Nighttime lamps would glow with a soothing warmth. There's no austerity. No shame-inducing leers from on high. Murals would adorn the walls and ceilings, depicting the history of art from around the world. Scenes would show the first images on cave walls from 40,000 years ago, through the ancient Egyptians, the Greeks, the art of Asia, through medieval times. Natives cultures from around the world get equal treatment. Proceeding with the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, through to modern day. All to honor the creative act by highlighting the story of being human, regardless of location, language, race, or gender. No barriers between cultures. Sculptures would dance through the rhythm of the space. Music would guide the guest through the cathedral like Virgil taking the hand of Dante. I think we're due to honor this entirely human act in a welcoming space of its own."
Do you have a favorite inspirational place?
"By necessity my workspace is my inspirational place. Having moved around over the years has meant that's at times been a small desk, a studio, a dining room table, and so on. I've got a setup I'm happy with currently, with nice light and a view of trees. Going for hikes or at least a walk in the woods is inspiring for me. Unfortunately I don't have immediate access to any trails these days. Blue Hills is a bit of a drive away and I've gone carless. When I lived in LA, Griffith Park was a stroll away, which is a beautiful mountain range. Likewise plenty near Auckland and Hong Kong, which has the wonderfully named Dragon's Back trail. Traveling to another country always lights me up. I can easily slip into a reverie thinking about walking the streets of Rome, seeing the mountains of Iceland, or the ancient temples of Cambodia overgrown with trees. To make due I'll go to a martial arts class or for a run which always helps clear my head."
Do you play any board games, tabletop games or video games? If so, what is your favorite?
"I enjoy video games, but don't play much. I was a fan of the Myst series. Watching someone skilled, like my brother, can be more fun than bumbling through it. In the past couple of years I’ve gotten into roleplaying along the lines of Dungeons & Dragons. It’s super fun. Also strange/special to do something unrecordable. It’s not something you can take pictures of and it’s really hard to communicate the adventure to other people who aren’t there. I suppose that’s part of the charm. It’s an experience shared in the imagination of a few people and then its gone. Yet there's a real sense of problem solving and teamwork. Looking forward to more of that.
Thanks for taking an interest in my work. I hope this has been worth the read."
If you would like to learn more about Adam Doyle and his work, you can check out his artist page here. There you will find his artwork available at Inked, as well as, his social media accounts.