COMA recently sat down with Adam Stone in the lead up to the opening of his solo presentation in the gallery, Concrete Islands, to discuss his studio life and literary, audio and visual inspiration for the exhibition.
COMA: What have you been reading? Have any of these books or writers inspired your latest collection or had a broader influence on your artistic practice?
Adam Stone: At the moment I’ve been reading Just Kids by Patti Smith – it has been nice to be transported into another time and place whilst stuck at home in isolation. I’ve also just started Bad New Days (Art, Criticism, Emergency) by Hal Foster, which a friend gave to me earlier this year and seems especially poignant right now. I’m also revisiting Making Worlds: Art and Science Fiction by Amelia Barikin and Helen Hughes which has some wonderful and informative essays on subjects central to my Concrete Islands. It also has one of the best covers ever.
As an aside, the exhibition title is based on the JG Ballard novel, Concrete Island and I have dipped in and out of that text during the development of the exhibition.
COMA: What have you been listening to? Have there been particular songs on repeat, lyrics that have lingered on the brain? Are these your routine songs that you go to concentrate when in the studio, or do you mix it up on the regular?
AS: Believe it or not, I don’t actually have a Spotify account and instead tend to listen to music on Youtube. I’m really not sure why I haven’t gotten around to getting one. I will listen to music when I’m working on the computer, but when I’m physically making work I tend not to listen to music as I’ll often be working collaboratively with fabricators or the foundry.
Some recent songs I’ve been listening to are as follows:
Teenage Riot – Sonic Youth, Kool Thing – Sonic Youth, A History of Bad Men – The Melvins, Honey Bucket – The Melvins, JFK 2 LAX – Gangstarr, All Caps – Madvillain, Holy Wars – Megadeth, Holiday in Cambodia – Dead Kennedy’s, Can’t – Juicy J, Who Da Neighbours – Juicy J, Hustlin – Rick Ross, Hard in Da Paint – Waka Flocka Flame, Gas and Mud – Gucci Mane
I’m quite a stress head and I really enjoy taking baths to help relax. I will always listen to a certain kind of music, which I call my ‘bath music’. I will mostly listen to anything by Bohren & der Club of Gore, particularly their Sunset Mission album. Sometimes I’ll be in a slightly different mood and put on something by Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, The Velvet Underground, the Trainspotting soundtrack or one of the old Cafe Del Mar CD’s. My parents would have them on a lot when I was younger, so it’s both relaxing and nostalgic. For some strange reason I nearly always only listen to those few things when I have a bath – I guess I like routine and habit.
COMA: Are you listening to any particular podcasts lately?
AS: Again, I’m stuck in the past and I haven’t yet got around to the podcast phenomenon. Instead I will listen to lectures, studio visits or artist’s talks on Youtube. I do listen to The Nine Club podcast which is a skateboarding show on Youtube where they have a range of guests, most of whom are professional, or ex-professional skateboarders. A list of recent viewings are as follows:
Ian Michna – The Nine Club, Steve-O – The Nine Club, Aaron Curry – de la Cruz Collection lecture, Andra Ursuta – Biennale Arte 2019, Robert Crumb: A Compulsion to Reveal – Louisiana Museum, Peter Saul – New Museum
COMA: What have you been watching? Have any of these been source material for the upcoming show?
AS: I am quite influenced by film and would certainly say there are specific works which have shaped the exhibition. Lots of sci-fi from the 60’s and 70s, A Clockwork Orange, The Girl From Rio, The Tenth Victim, Eden and After. American Psycho, Less Than Zero, Crash, Videodrome, Mad Max and other stylised hubristic films are also noted as influences. The following list is what I’ve been watching during my time in isolation:
Ozark Season 3, Tiger King, Tromeo and Juliet, Chungking Express, The Great Beauty and Holy Motors.
I will often refer to the Instagram page Anti CGI for movie inspiration as he has wonderful taste in films. SBS on Demand is also a great resource and I’ll just pick something to watch on there. I’ve also just found the website Kanopy, which is a film streaming site that you can access with your public library card for free.
I obsessively watch lots of skateboarding and BMX videos on Youtube. I would recommend Jarne Verbruggen: Professional Life. He almost gets hit by a car and has a pot plant thrown out a third story window onto his head while skating. The aesthetic of these ‘subcultures’ and their pop cultural tropes are major influences in my practice.
COMA: How are you keeping sane in our current state of isolation, any routines, foods or humans helping you get through?
AS: I have been keeping up regular exercise and have been going on long bike rides every second day. I am really missing the gym and elliptical cross trainer, as I can’t run due to having two knee surgeries from BMX crashes in late teens/ early 20s.
I have been staying with my parents during this lockdown period on the Mornington Peninsula. It has been really nice to be able to go for beach walks and have them around for support. They have a big garage that I have been using as my studio, it has been useful as I usually work between my bedroom, living room, backyard and small shed.
My dog Toby is very valued company and essential to maintaining my mental wellbeing.