Q & A with Artist Adam Cusack

Term: 3 Year: 2019

Adam Cusack’s practice traverses multiple media including drawing, painting, installation and sculpture. His work explores ideas of authenticity and identity in popular culture. Cusack is interested in showing real things in provocative ways; assembling unrelated objects together to bring about relationships that challenge the perception of the original items.

How did ‘Art’ first manifest itself to you, and can you identify any major influences in your development as a creative person?

Adam: I grew up with a camera in one hand and a pencil in the other. I was fortunate to be encouraged throughout my childhood by my father who had a great eye and knew the basics to pass on. When I was young dad spoke to me about perspective and how to make things look real, he bought me a secondhand camera and taught me how to use it. It wasn’t until high school that I realized both skills could be combined, and with the guidance of a wonderful art teacher Jude Marsland, I was able to develop both processes into my current art practice.

What does art mean to you?

Adam: Looking at an object and trying to get meaning from it is something I probably spend too much time doing. I’m interested in showing real things in provocative ways; assembling unrelated objects together to bring about relationships that challenge the perception of the original items. I like to think it’s like adding a secret code to my artwork.

What materials do you use?

Adam: My practice is a traditional one, in that I make marks on a surface. The beautiful thing about charcoal is that it’s a dead burnt tree with its own new purpose and life. It’s a very old natural tool/process. However, charcoal can be a very difficult medium whenever you draw you create dust, which in-turn means you’ve got very mobile particles floating around the studio. This adds a degree of difficulty to creating really fine work and keeping the results pure – and the drawing clean. I’ve set myself an impossible task managing the raw and the pure, that’s one of the challenges that attracts me to it as a medium.

Any final thoughts on process?

Adam: I know it sounds strange, but the more time you spend doing what you’re doing as an artist, the more it will inform different aspects of your practice. I’m pleased if I make a mistake and it looks good because it gives me the ‘push’ to take more risks. It’s the same with all mediums, it can get pretty scary and there are many ways something can go wrong (or right), it just depends on how you’re looking at your process.

Nic Plowman (Zart Education)
in conversation with Adam Cusack