LA based artist, Adam Mars.
While driving en route to the airport via La Cienega in the Culver City Arts district you may have noticed a massively bright blue billboard reading, “I Loved You Then I Googled You.” This is the work of LA based artist Adam Mars. Native to the City of Angels, Mars opened his live/work studio for ArtBlitzLA to check out just before his new exhibition at GUSFORD Gallery opened. Welcomed with jokes and apologies for partying too hard the night prior, Mars led us into his Echo Park studio where we saw everything from paintings from his undergrad days to his impressive collection of sprinkles.
Courtesy of Adam Mars.
Trained as a traditional painter, Mars evolved to focus his talents on artistically commenting on social trends in our contemporary society. Despite the wry tone of some his phrases, which make declarations such as, “Longing for Your Divorce,” “I Stand by My Uninformed Opinions,” “Carpal Tinder Syndrome” or “Gluten Free Cunnilingus,” Mars himself doesn’t seem the least bit jaded. If anything, Mars seems to have an astute perspective on his position and ability, as an artist, to be brutally, brilliantly honest–and get away with it. Mars first transitioned from making more figurative paintings to making his now signature text-based works after seeking a reaction to the cultural response to Banksy’s 2010 film, Exit Through the Gift Shop. Fascinated by the public’s enthrallment with the film, and street art in general, Mars made his first faux brick piece, which featured the phrase, “Banksy Sucks.”
Banksy Sucks, 2011. Courtesy of Adam Mars.
Interested in the way street art, typically considered counterculture, had so quickly become part of pop culture, Mars sought a way to incorporate the icons, symbols and trends of the day into ironic, funny, audacious and twisted phrases. The results are the latest works, soon to be headed for GUSFORD Gallery at the time of our visit, which incorporate acrylics, faux brick wall and colorful sprinkles…yes, the sprinkles covering your ice cream. Each material included is symbolic, carefully thought-out by Mars. The brick wall is reminiscent of the street art that inspired the original text work. And the sprinkles, which were apparently very hard to source in quality bulk, resemble digital pixels, bestowing a certain affection to the idea encompassed in the work that announces, “My JPEG Belongs in a Museum.” In fact though, the sprinkles came about as the result of Damien Hirst’s Dot Paintings, which Gagosian Gallery exhibited at every one of their eleven spaces in 2012. Curious (mortified?) about how the state of contemporary art had come feature so many paintings of expensive, colorful dots, Mars turned to sprinkles as a kind of coping mechanism.
Carpal Tinder Syndrome, 2014. Courtesy of Adam Mars.
Smart, biting and brutally, honestly confrontational Mars’ latest series of paintings is well worth a look. If you haven’t had the opportunity to witness this new work, make sure to go see his solo exhibition at GUSFORD in West Hollywood. Once Upon A Time, We Weren’t Suckers- November 7- December 20, 2014.
Behind the scenes look into Mar’s studio area.
Not Built For This Bullshit, 2014
Ideas for works in progress.