Interview with contemporary dark surreal artist Adrian Cherry

Adrian Cherry is a self-taught artist with an interest in human anatomy, the macabre, and the surreal. Her work employs subtle distortions to the human form in an attempt to reconcile personal points of concern. Adrian has exhibited in several galleries across the US, including the La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles, CA and Arch Enemy Arts in Philadelphia, PA.
Hello dear Adrian, please, tell us how did you find the artist inside you? How long have you been doing art? Is art something that you always wanted to do?

I’ve been doing art, or something like it, for as long as I can remember. I started out drawing and coloring like most kids, but held onto it as I got older thanks to my sister (also an artist), who I spent a lot of my childhood and teenage years trying to emulate. It’s always been something I’ve turned to for a release, or to occupy myself, and it’s a little difficult for me to imagine doing something else.

What was / is your major influences? Other artists, books, movies, music or any other media....What inspires you to create your artworks?
I’m fascinated by human anatomy, the composition of it, the distortion of it, the breaking down of it. I’m also intrigued by how our physical form is ingrained in our psyches as a prominent foundation to who we are. It's always been a love/hate area for me. So anyone whose work dissects, warps, or tears down the human form is usually someone I admire. That being said, Jenny Saville, Chris Cunningham, and Mike Reedy are some favorites who come to mind that I draw inspiration from.

How does "a normal day of artist" in your life look like?
It’s pretty limited at the moment. Most of my time is occupied by a fulltime job (my supplemental income), which I usually don’t finish up until later in the evening. From there, I can either squeeze in an hour or so of work before dinner or just before bed. Of late, that hour is spent hunched over a table or easel, working out the details of skulls drawings. The progress I usually make in those small windows of time is small, but it’s something. That’s all the matters.
What’s your background? Are you self-taught artist or did you study art? Do you think an art education is important or imperative for anybody wishing to be an artist? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages that you have encountered throughout your career with/without the formal training of the Art Academy?
I’m mostly self-taught, although I did start out pursuing a fine arts degree in college before switching over to business. An education in the arts is certainly helpful, but I feel like you can access a lot of the information you’d need from other sources outside of school or college. And, aside from prepping you for the business side, or helping you build experience, walking away with a degree may not always be necessary if you’re pursuing a career as a fine artist. If you’re serious about it, and you’re pursuing it, then you’ll learn what you need to know as you go. I’m getting the impression that even with the education, there’s still a lot more you’ll be learning as you go along with it.
What fascinates you the most about surrealism and dark art? How would you describe your style? What themes do you pursue, what surrealism mean to you and what do you hope the viewer will take away from your art?
I love the psychology behind surrealism. Not being bound by the laws of reality, there’s a lot of freedom in how a piece can be structured and the symbolism that can be incorporated into it. There’s also a vulnerability and security with communicating in that style. To me, it becomes a vehicle for you to candidly converse with your subconscious, safely…in code. I’m not sure how I’d describe my style…I’m not sure I have one. But, a lot of the content and themes I pursue tend to be dark, or macabre and morbid. And as for what I hope the viewer takes away, as long as it elicits a good reaction for them, I’m happy.
What do you love most about creating and being an artist? What does “being creative” mean to you?
I like that creating provides me an avenue of escape from the everyday. It allows me to get lost in my head while drawing or painting. And, at times, it’s an efficient outlet for venting or working through issues. There’s also a high I get when a piece seems to come together that I enjoy. So, it’s a therapy of sorts.
Can you describe your typical workflow when you’re working on your art? What are your tools of trade? What medium do you most often use and why?
It typically starts out fast, with a majority of the progress (so it seems) being done in the beginning. Usually, it’s blocking in forms and trying to establish values. Then, I begin slowly obsessing over details. Graphite and pastels are my comfort zones of late. They seem to afford me more control over details, in less of the time it would take for me to paint them.
Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
Gouache. I’ve seen works by artists like Sean Cheetham (par exemple) that has me both terrified and excited about the medium.
Tell us more about your workspace. What was the most funny or weird thing that happened to you in your studio? What is / was the most strange thing hiding in your studio?
The workspaces are kind of cramped and tend to migrate throughout the house. And, outside of the occasional cat fight, they remain pretty low key and tame. Strange things hiding in my studio would probably be random animal skeletons, wet animal specimens in jars, and my extracted wisdom teeth.
What toughest challenges have you faced as an artist during your art career? What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?
I’m trying to be more disciplined, discard the self-doubt and insecurities, and really pursue my art career seriously.
What’s the best and worst advice you ever received in your art career?

Best: as much as I hate to say it, get a day job. That supplemental income will keep you fed, clothed, sheltered, and fuel your desire to make it in the art industry. It’ll also make breaking into the market easier in case you have to start out selling low in order to infiltrate the scene and build a base of collectors.

Worst: I don’t know that I’ve been given bad advice yet. I might be giving it out, but receiving it hasn’t happened that I’m aware of.
What do you dislike about the art world? What is the hardest thing on being an artist? Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
I’ve read the art market is akin to an unregulated stock market, which can easily be rigged by the right people with the right resources. I wasn’t too thrilled to hear about that. I’m not a huge fan of some of the egos that I’ve encountered on the scene as well. (No amount of talent, or anything for that matter, is an excuse to act like you’re above anyone else).The hardest part of being an artist is the financial instability. It’s kind of crushing knowing that, unless you’re lucky, making a living off of something you enjoy doing may always be out of reach. And it can be a lonely life. A lot of your free time can be consumed working on pieces for the sheer sake of working on them or to meet deadlines. But having a close network of friends and family and maintaining the occasional/reoccurring outing with them can help to combat this. And pets, they’re great for combating loneliness too.
Where do you see yourself in the future? Professionally, what’s your goal?
Hopefully I’ll have established myself more in the arts community, and will have filled out my CV a little more in the years to come.
Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others? Maybe advice for beginning artists out there?
Failure breeds success. It's inevitable and vital for any kind of progress. The saying, “failing forward” helps put that in perspective. Failure and rejection are part of the game. It'll happen, and it'll hurt, but you'll get over it. It's ok. Just take it in, mull it over, learn from it, and move on. It's an ongoing process of growth. Growing pains, more appropriately. Have fun with it. Do it for you and don’t try to force it. And, when the self-doubt starts kicking in (it always will), and you find yourself hating a piece with a deadline closing in, remember: you are your own worst critic...and you're the only one who knows what it was supposed to look like. Necessity is the mother of invention; limitation- whether it’s time, resources, or skill- often brings out the genius in people.
Your favorite art or life quote is ...
”Inspiration is for amateurs.” – Chuck Close. It’s a nice kick-in-the-ass quote. You can't sit around and wait for an idea to strike you to get you going. That’s a lot of time wasted on nothing. Besides, once you get started – that’s when the flood gates open and the ideas start kicking. You got to get it working first.
What are you doing when you’re not creating? What (other) hobbies do you have?
Periodically, I’ll dabble in photography. But, lately it’s been playing videogames with the other half as a means of destressing.
Do you have an online portfolio, blog or social medias where we can view your work?
Is there anything else you’d like to say? Is there any project you are working on right now or any ongoing event or exhibition you would like to share with our readers?
Right now, I’m currently working on getting some pieces ready for the Future Gallery’s Tarot Art Show and Arch Enemy Art’s 4th Annual Small Wonders.
Thank you dear Adrian, it was a honor to interview you, I wish you only the best for you and your art and already looking forward to see your new art works :)
PS: Adrian will exhibite soon at group show "Low to Pop". The exhibition will be on view from 9th October through to 21st December, 2015 at Funarte Gallery / Lx Factory, Rua Rodrigues de Faria 103, 1300 Lisboa, Europe.
By contributor Linda , 2015. Find Oh, So Surreal on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google + or RSS