I recently had the good fortune to meet Richie Adomako, a Ghanaian artist who is equal parts charming and talented. His exhibition: THE KILLING OF WHALES, is showing at the Irl Gallery (80 Franklin St.) through November 12th.
Richie is more than a mere talented artist; he is a deep thinker whose art is about our perceptions and the elements that shape them. Though I am not an art historian, Adomako’s use of color reminds me of Mark Chagall and the faces on his canvases suggest Picasso, but perhaps that is only because African art heavily influenced Picasso and Richie comes from Africa. At any rate, there are levels of complexity and meaning in his work that intrigue, but raise more questions than answers, so I sat down with the artist and asked him a few questions about his art.
Greenpointers: Can you tell us something about your development as a painter?
RA: I found my interest in high school but started to really practice it at Lafayette College where I was given the opportunity by Curlee Holton to be exposed to processes with Faith Ringold and Sam Gilliam. After seeing how they worked firsthand I got a better understanding of processing that allowed me to explore more dynamics than conventions given and pushed forth by typical art history. More importantly, I have a lot of mentors, and I am lucky that I’ve been able to explore on this this craft in New York City, because it allows me the closeness and availability to other artists, like Sienna Shields, Laura Karetzky, and C. Finley, all people I am lucky to call dear friends and have had the liberty to both worth with and watch them work.
Is there a common theme in the works on display?
I think here, I’m exploring on images and their meaning as a language, where we are accustomed to imagination inspired by imagery, but also the imagery convene to compare in the own images and stories as well. there is something for everyone, because we all see differently, but given enough time, we’ll come to the same thing, and it is this notion that I explore on – how we come to that in the end from how we received that to begin with.
Do you have a favorite painting in the show? What do you think makes it special?
I think the untiled faces are my favorite. As an artist, it has been important for me to find one thing that is mines and after 10 years, coming to something simple with great aesthetics that can also offer variety has been difficult, but what I think makes then special is that unreality, the simplicity they offer is anything but otherwise, it has taken a long time to do so and I believe in that analogy about life and experience. simplicity is mired by its own idea, but in reality they are often the hardest thing to do.
Have other painters inspired you and left some imprint on your style?
I think there are the convention al popular works we all love, but recently I think I’ve been inspired by Chris Offilli’s and Jonas Wood’s works.
Has your time in Ghana had some influence on your painting, and if so how?
I think so, there’s always the play on figuring out where and how I fit in culturally on a larger scale in multitudes to having this multi-background both in culture and language. And Because I also speak TWI, which is a very picturesque language I find that more and more its alliterations play a big part in how I tell stories and subsequently how I paint them – especially since it is a vivid and colorful language from a culture that is very expressive in giving.
What do you hope to convey in your canvases? Is there a message beyond the joy of creativity?
I think ultimately, I hope to convey reason…with time. and if in that process I can capture some joy and also create inspiration and beauty that will count as some satisfaction and ultimate joy. I feel like I am doing my society part when I paint, but at the same time, I also feel I’m do what I need to do when I paint because it also encompasses all the emotions I can ever find and it allow me to dive into theories and reasons deepening on what I am diving into or exploring on.
You describe yourself as a “Swiss Army Knife” who is involved in a range of creative projects. Can you elaborate on that?
Yes, my background is in media, and advertising. as someone who thrives on the backend as well as the from at times, I have to wear a lot of hats, and as a result of my experiences in relation I’ve come have an arsenal of tools that allows me jump into things for multiple angles depending on their goals, from tech, to product design, to commercials and as well as industrial design and even manufacturing.
How does the broad focus reflect itself, if it does, on your canvases?
These are all forms of languages, whether I am coding, writing a storyboard or copy or even editing a film or story, the are essentially the same thing, and that is weaving journeys that is meant to take a person from one place to the next, and ultimately that is what I do with my canvases (whether I am asking a person to go inward or allow themselves to reflect both ways outward)