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

Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn

portrait of artists Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Anne’s artworks are so interesting in that her collage is ultimately a personal journey in time, combined with an almost fixated observation of human behaviours. Exploring the attic of her grandmother’s old home and discovering old photographs from the 1960s and 70s. They represent a modern timeless quality in as such that our society at present has almost shifted into a nostalgia of the simplicity and elegance of this period; which makes Anne’s works so captivating.  Much of her collage cut outs are a Namibian history lesson of a time in our society, it has that resonance of the old colonialism of young Europeans exploring their new conquests, learning to integrate in their alien environments, embracing the new and marking their territories with a naïveté and youthful arrogance.  You can imagine what it must have been like, the excitement and challenges.  Depicting a time when we were free to rebel and pushed forward new ideas, how we changed the world without knowing the consequences in our vigorous candour. That real time is what Anne manipulates, it is to create art so controversial it will raise your eyebrows.

collage art by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Lets Take a Dive by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Homeland collage Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Giraffes and Dirt Roads by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
collage art Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Hanging on a Dream by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn

It’s when she discovered her grandmother’s old photographs, she started creating her collage art, capturing moments of her life in Namibia, juxtaposed with her life in London. It’s the comparative of the then and now.  Her observations of two alien cultures trying to exist together.  What fascinates her is people’s responses.  How some from the different countries react to her works, a Londoner being shocked with an artwork of a hyena with a woman in her mouth and Namibian shocked by a woman exposing herself.  Most of her work is unconscious, 85% of her time cutting out all sorts of images and in a meditative state the artworks come together.  Anne always appropriates things, making weird combinations of the little resources in Africa, that you use everything and then Anne draws reference, how poor people will find old tins cans, plastic bottles, lids anything and create artefacts which they sell to survive.  We talk about mass media and how it’s only relevant for five minutes, but she gives them another lease of life.

Homoerotic/Homeland Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Homoerotic/Homeland by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Daydreamer collage Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Flower Girl by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn

Born and raised in the harsh Namibian landscapes in Otjiwarongo, which translates into ‘where the Cattle graze’.  She did grow up in the centre of nature in the middle of a cattle farm, where she was taught to hunt antelopes, in an environment where death was different.  You learnt to hunt your meal.  She recalls she once killed a Kudu with a gun and she can still remember the feeling of guilt she felt.  All the meat was used, it fed 30 workers. This relationship with nature and how taking a life to feed is treated with respect.  This reality of life combining the wilds of natural Africa, living with indigenous people from this part of the world, within the time of European integration.  She remembers the Chagall painting hanging above her parents bed.  Her mother was a Goldsmith and her father a designer and maker of fur coats. Both her parents, creative hippies, as she describes them, until they moved to run her grandparent’s cattle farm.  Anne attended the University of Stellenbosch, in Cape Town were she studied Fine Art and graduated with Honours.  Her works in Sculpture, installation, photography, and video work, are what inspired her at the time, “I couldn’t draw, or paint”  Anna sighs.

collage Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Sheep for Sleep by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Shy Wild collage art by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Ball Games by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Day Dreamer collage Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Farmers Hangover by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn

After Anne’s fine art degree, she decided to come to London, she came to do a gap year 13 years ago, and fell in love with the energy, there is always something going on, she explains.  Eventually moving to the UK permanently, her graduate work was just video art at the time.  She started work as a runner for a film production company in Soho, then junior editor, before long she was editor for the film company for three years.  She was always interested in storytelling, however she felt the work was too commercial and not very creative working on day time television programs and decided she didn’t want to sit in a dark room any more.  So Anne applied for an MA at Central St Martins, and after one year of courses across the board, she applied for a job posted at the University and started teaching Media Techniques; in adobe photo shop and other media softwares.  She loved the teaching Anne emphasises, but then explains how she became disillusioned with the politics and began to focus more on her own art.  Anne has a business mind and as a freelance artist she bolsters her income with mobile network apps for summer music festivals and then she tells me of a business making fake snow for film and TV.  They dress huge areas for film sets, including the renewal of the film Murder on the Orient express.

collage art Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Colonial Kid By Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn
Homeland collage Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn in CAKE
Gagging the Outlaw by Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn

Then Anne expresses how African artists influenced her, it’s how they see things she exclaims, and we talk about the Shona Sculptures carved with Soap stone, the modern art movement originally from Zimbabwe and how these carvers took their skills to other parts of Southern Africa, many European artists including Picasso and Matisse were heavily influenced by these artists as well.  Anne resonates, that Southern African artists have a political agenda in their work, it reflects their society, huge aspects of humour in their approach to art.  This is what is essential to Anne’s work, it’s controversial, non mainstream, with somewhat humorous topics, from random dark fetishes and ideals, to the psychology behind people and what makes people different.

Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst

Photography portrait of artist
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst