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On the cover: ‘Red Portrait With Dimensional Movement’ by Adam Neate

‘Red Portrait with Dimensional Movement’, 2013

‘Red Portrait with Dimensional Movement’, 2013

You are interested in portraits, both your own and the rise of the selfie. What do you think is behind the urge to capture our own image?

The rise of the selfie allows people to project the role of their own ego in the sense that you take ten photos of yourself and only choose the best one. You are creating a filter of your life in which you are in control of what happens, striving for perfection.

You have a history of leaving your art on street corners for people to pick up. How does it feel to give away something you’ve created?

It feels nice to liberate my work and ideas to the world. My art was given away for free as part of a project to try to separate monetary value from the artistic value of the work. I do not authenticate the street work as that would give rise to a monetary value which would undermine the artistic value of the project.

’The Hug’ 2011

‘Selfie’ 2014

How has the internet changed the art world?

With all the positives the net has to offer us in terms of information, it is all a second-hand experience. You cannot beat a first-hand experience of walking round a museum and seeing a painting that gives you a close-to-religious experience, making you question your own existence.  A photo of a painting on the internet is the equivalent of someone showing you their holiday snaps. Online we can scroll through hundreds of images a minute; we are becoming desensitised to such over-stimulus. Sometimes we have to experience something ourselves in person to fully understand it.

You once said that your personal motto was “believe nothing of what you read and only half of what you see”. Is that still true?

Definitely! More and more media echo chambers are being created for television as well as print. Stories are often skewed from their original meaning or never given an ending.

‘Untitled’ 2011

‘Revolving Door’ 2011


Do you think we struggle to separate fact and fiction today? 

Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story! The hero’s journey will always contain the departure, initiation and return. I will never forget the iconic image of a fresh-faced Tony Blair moving into Downing Street with a tatty guitar case under his arm. At the time such a simple prop could help people believe in what they were hoping for. A man who was going to make a change for the better. A tatty guitar case’s symbolism hijacked for the purpose of politics.

What has had the greatest impact on you and your work recently?

Listening to [US author and counter-culture icon] Terence McKenna’s lecture Opening The Doors Of Creativity. It’s a rather romantic view, but I like the idea that art can be one of the main factors for steering humanity towards a
better future.

What news story of the quarter grabbed your attention?

Landing a satellite on a moving comet helped towards our great quest for collective escapism. For a moment we could forget our own humdrum problems and focus on the bigger picture

Adam Neate’s work is in collections in 30 countries around the world. His latest paintings are on permanent display at London’s Elms Lesters Painting Rooms.

Portait by Sarah Lee

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