Interview with Richie Adomako by Guest Editor A. Saladin
1. Where are you from and how long have you been creating?
I was born in Ghana in West Africa and raised in New York, mostly a Brooklyn Boy. I think I’ve been creating since I was gleam in my mother’s eye.
2. What are some of your influences?
Design, Media, Gastronome, Coding, Context, Color, I was a coder as a kid and I still am. So that form of thinking has come into practice in terms of how I go into my pockets of reasoning. I would say the two biggest influences are music and having other creatives to gel, work, mellow and bounce off. I believe we are our best when we give, giving off something. In the same way, our best comes out in the process, Its a matter of being in a productive conducive enough setting or calm to capture and contextualize. Its about being convex and pushed to that point.
3. What is your creative process like? Do you work in silence or do you need noise?
I am my worst enemy and also my favorite contradiction. My day really needs momentum to move along or else, everything can spiral uncontrollably up ,as well as, down. For that reason, I need music. I used to review music and was always an avid collector so my playlists are tight when the right keys strike, but in the same way I can sometimes get into some addicting bad music in terms of substance. There are days when I just want to listen to NPR and work and some when I just prefer a documentary or an audio from essays or debates going in the background as I review my notes, drawings, emails etc. In that same way, I can be happy to hear the train sometimes after the pile drivers from the new buildings stop. I also get just as easily annoyed as well, but thats the dance of the day and in the end, there is always a go. Theres always a million things to do and like five things I have to do, and I am not the best at time management, so momentum especially with little goals along the way helps me feel good. Its amazing how I made that even sound dirty, but thats how it is, Its a dirty process.
4. Your a part of the art collective group, HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? (The question mark is apart of the name). You announced through twitter the collectives withdrawal from the 2014 Whitney Biennial, can you tell us why the group made this decision.
Your baby is your baby and you have to look out for it, same in the nature of one’s work. It was a collective decision – and a tough one to have to do so, but on the grounds and nature of how we were dealt with in relation was irking and it became inevitable – almost like we were being pushed. We weren’t the only collective in the program, but we certainly experienced the brunt of it. Having over three dozen people of color being represented as one, while others weren’t, and even worse, an artist and a professor whose work evolved around pimping a fictional black woman as his art got representation. We had to fight so hard to even get all of our names in the book after getting into the show.
5. Has this decision been effective to you as an artist?
I would be too much of an optimist if I didn’t say it hasn’t, I’ve spent most of my developing years trying to overlook certain lines, but its really hard when the lines are pressed right in your face, and someone is trying to make a fool of you by telling you those nails don’t exist. Its like a discredit, sometimes you need others to help you find a direction, in whatever way, making me question my sense of character. Working with the group certainly has helped me put my foot down a bit more, and it has been one of the best experiences in my life. In previous years, I would prefer a bubbly nonchalant chagrin in air of the nature of the deal, but there are a lot of secret handshakes in New York City. So when you become pressed not as an individual but on generalization from the other side of the tracks, because they do exist you want to push back. But that’s not my style, I’d rather just work and have the work speak. So without going into a mindless rant, as an artist, it really showed me that there really are two sides. Simply put, its those that care, those who don’t and those between, and this is huge! Overall i’ve come to find that there is strength in the numbers no matter how small, those that do care outweigh the fields of the many that don’t, and as a creative, I am perhaps a little more guarded as a result, but that is still my personal reservation and not exactly my work. I mean, I’m a New Yorker, I grew up in this city, and as I get older I realize it has already made me quite a piece of work.
6. You’ve shared your thoughts on fashion in the past, how has your fashion sense evolved over time and what about your creativity has influenced that?
Oh, by the eon’s, just from my evolvement in the last 3 years alone. Before, I was very keen on keeping things minimalist, because I had a strict routine and I had to be able to just get up and go – almost like a uniform. it was either that or what you’d call downtown chic. My days now vary and and can be rocky so comfort is the thing but still tasteful in my regard, even if its all black. If I have a day of meetings then I will still go for a look, but I still find that there still aren’t enough good dress shoes for men in terms of variety, but non-the-less in the recent years I’ve gotten outside of my comfort zone, wearing more colors, and different cuts. Its amazing how the stride can transform when fabric depending on the type clutches, sits, or drapes on your form. Finding that has opened me up in my work from media to even my paintings. You can’t be boring in color, its just not allowed and those forms find their way into my work.
7. A SITUATION: You have an exhibition and this will be the last day anyone would have an existing photo of you. What would you be wearing and which one of your pieces would you want to be standing next to?
ooh, tough question! I think, I would have to wear my gray Karl Lagerfeld Zootsuit jacket with maybe a canary yellow cashmere sweater, and black oak cashmere pants next to my painting “Ragging Happiness.” The shoes will be tough, but I guess we’ll just have to wait for the day it fits to pick that.