Adam Robinson

artist Adam Robinson
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Clear lines and geometric shapes, the finest of the architectural eye, with methodical detail and accuracy, until you move in closer and the closer you look the more complex it becomes.  Within Adam’s artworks is a collage artist who reflects the complexity of our world in the detail, giving the frameworks of something clean and mathematical.  It’s what architecture does, it’s intimidating as we stand in awe of it.  It is however a large part of his work: the mathematics, calculations and geometry, precision and patience.  Though the realms of the meaning are something completely different.  His works are reminiscent of those days in the 50’s when men in advertising like the television series ‘Mad Men’ sold a world of sexism and clichés, men’s DIY at home and women with aprons in the kitchen.  Letters with postage stamps, all with hidden meanings.  The nostalgia of this capitalist era seen through the eyes of tower block windows and old printed material.  

Homemaker by Adam Robinson
Practical Mechanics by Adam Robinson
The Practical Motorist by Adam Robinson

The stamps reflecting the times when there was no other way to communicate but with a letter by post.  The designs of old wallpapers and postcards, old Monopoly cards, vintage paper targets, old Polish board games, bird and flower collectible cards from old tea boxes, antique maps and old seed packets.  All selling that Western dream created by those in the marketing world.  His collage art is a journey through flea markets, vintage shops and the nostalgia of what is a bygone era.  However many alive today remember with a vivid accuracy as if it was still here.  Adam has taken this time in our recent history of a world just as it began to recover after the Second World War, and brought it into the 21st century.  Taking in elements of architecture, typically styled upon the classic high-rises from the 50’s and 60’s up to today, he has made his artwork ultra-slick and ultra-modern, the perfect circles of carefully placed artefacts, raised and organised, playing with shadow and light, to create artwork for the most modern contemporary.  Yet when you stand up close you are drawn into an era of longing for a time when the world appeared pitch perfect in its portrayal, however in reality far from it.

Artwork Adam Robinson
Sunset by Adam Robinson
Artwork by Adam Robinson
All Over the World by Adam Robinson
Artwork Adam Robinson
A Lasting Finish by Adam Robinson

Originally from Sydney, growing up in the suburban Hills District, his father a policeman and his mother in sales, he is reflective of where his creativity comes, and is reminiscent of his grandmother, an art and crafts teacher.  As a boy he recalls that he was always collecting and making things; an achieving academic however loved art at school.  His parents divorced when he was 12 and his family moved west to a more rural district.  He took more art classes, yet outside those; his parents looked at the life of an artist as a life of poverty, and persuaded Adam to study something that would result in a job so he chose Theatre Design.  He loved his degree at Wollongong University, he tells me, with a beaming smile; “it was very creative and you could really go for it, with ideas”. He learnt to draw things in 3D for theatres which is why he uses it now in his art, the precision with technical drawing with which he was trained. He was additionally responsible for supervising the theatre set during its construction.

artwork Adam Robinson
Artis Zoo 1940 by Adam Robinson
Artwork Adam Robinson
Artis Zoo 1940 by Adam Robinson
artwork Adam Robinson
Spin Quiz by Adam Robinson

Adam then tells me, after graduating as a young man in his early 20’s, he worked in a cinema as an usher, or in hotels, and whilst working these jobs he was making artworks, often bigger pieces with stuff that he would find, pull apart and then put back together.  With this he created his first body of work, and contributed to a group exhibition titled ‘Walking the Streets’.  At that time he discovered how he loves the complete creative control of making art.  Then his life took a different turn: a friend of his got him a job in the art department at the legendary Aussie soap Home and Away.  This was the beginning of a 16 year career in television, and suddenly earning good money.  His career as an Art Director involved standing by during shoots coordinating everything for the art department, script reading, gathering and making props off all kinds, including computer and graphic props, so he had his hand in most pies.  His four years with the soap led him to London where he worked on Eastenders, The Bill, Holby City, CBBC and film commercials, to name a few, however always doing his art on the side.  His art was always in the back of his mind, Adam explains.  Whilst living in the UK, he started finding new materials to use and began his next body of work with the notion of using components that have an essence of the past but in a new contemporary context.  He recalled his grandfather, a teacher in mathematics, who had tools in his shed, and this helped him harness the idea: the feeling of domesticity and those masculine elements, the ideal life of that time, and the cross-over of the two.

artwork by Adam Robinson
Illuminated Niagara Falls by Adam Robinson
On the Pier by Adam Robinson

Four years ago he gave up his TV career to focus on his art.  Three years ago it took off when an artwork was sold to the Hoxton Hotel, and he hasn’t looked back.  He has been accepted at The Other Art Fair in London and Brooklyn N.Y, Roy’s Art Fair in London and Sussex Art Fair, as well as numerous group shows and a solo show at a gallery in Clapham, London.  In the first six months a lot had been happening but he did have doubts about taking the plunge to be an artist.  Just before this time he had been living with his husband in New York for one year above Hell’s Kitchen, near Central Park.  His husband’s company needed him in the US for this period and during this time Adam was a ‘housewife’, he tells me.  However he would go to the flea markets and start collecting, especially American materials, incubating his ideas to become the artworks.  Those pieces are reflective of the high rises, and the American dream.  His husband who he has been with for twenty years is his biggest champion.  

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

Artist Adam Robinson
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

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