In The Studio with Adam Bridgland
This week In The Studio, TAG Fine Arts speaks to Adam Bridgland. He takes us on a tour of the Cambridge studio he built with his wife - fellow artist Lucy Gough, shares some advice to upcoming artists, and discusses soup with Andy Warhol. You can find more of Adam's work here, and catch his works in person at our booth at the London Art Fair.
How did your relationship with TAG Fine Arts develop?
I first started working with TAG Fine Arts following a meeting with Wayne Warren at the Royal Academy in 2007. He liked my work Now I Find Poetry In The Strangest Places and introduced me to Hobby and Diana. It really pleases me how long we have been working together!
What is your background?
I completed my BA in Print and Photomedia at Norwich School of Art and Design and went on to do a Fine Art MA at the Royal College of Art, London.
Did you ever decide to be an artist?
I have always wanted to create from an early age. I loved to draw cars, birds and Vikings as a little boy; it has always been a form of escape. I thought being a biologist would be fun but I am pretty squeamish. Then I think my plan was to work in the design world but that changed when I started developing my work during my studies and was introduced to screen printing.
Adam Bridgland - I Need This Wilderness (London) - courtesy of TAG Fine Arts
Define what art means to you, in 150 characters or less.
Beautiful, necessary, a release.
Describe what your workspace is like.
My wife, artist Lucy Gough, and I recently built a studio at our home near Cambridge. As we are based in the countryside the space resembles a bird hide! Having the studio has really helped us expand both our artistic practices, giving us a freedom to explore new ideas and approaches.
Do you have any routine you follow when you’re creating?
I work well to set briefs, I like to have a goal. As well as the final work for the project, other works often spring up in the development and that can take my practice in different directions, which can be exciting.
What is your favourite work of art?
I change my mind too much! But, I imagine it would be a work by Robert Rauschenberg or Eduardo Paolozzi.
If you could have dinner with any artist, past or present, who would it be and why?
Andy Warhol. I think he would bring a good crowd. We could discuss soup, collections and pop culture.
How important are current affairs to your works?
I think there is always a connection to nostalgia in my work. I don’t look to directly make work about current affairs, but inevitably people read into the works and make their own connections.
Do you think social media has impacted your career?
Yes, definitely. Social media has opened up my artwork to a new audience. Many more people can now view and comment about works in a matter of seconds. I think most of the impact has been positive.
Do you create your best work independently or when within a community?
I work mostly independently but I am a huge believer in collaboration - from this, I've been introduced to new ideas which have pushed my practice. I often work on projects with artists Lucy Gough and Lee Johnson, and I also collaborate with Danny Augustine as Augustine & Bridgland. The latter started as a bit of fun, nothing serious but it has since developed into a creative partnership, we've completed several exhibitions as a team, as well as collaborations with Heals and Comme Des Garçons.
What advice would you give to upcoming artists?
Have thick skin. Don’t be afraid to fail. Learn to accept the word no. Ignore rejection and grab the opportunities that come your way.
An installation of Adam's work outside the TAG Fine Arts building in Islington, London
Do you love what you do?
Yes, most of the time. I think it is a difficult industry to navigate, but I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunities I've received and to still be creating.
How would you describe your style?
Graphic; pop influenced by music and poetry.
What themes do you reflect on in your work?
Nostalgia, irony, disappointment, romance, love.
Do you collect any art yourself?
Yes, I collect both art and little pieces of ephemera - the latter probably too much so they end up in plan chests and boxes. I am most proud of an Eduardo Paolozzi plan of his Tottenham Court Road Underground mural and a little Barry Flanagan woodcut from his tours of Scotland.
What inspires you to create?
My family, music, and without sounding ridiculously cliché, it is just something I need to do.
What artwork of yours would you like to be remembered for?
I'm not sure if I have made it yet, but if I said goodbye tomorrow, I'd probably say my sculpture; I Need This Wilderness For My Heart To Beat, as it really seems to resonate with people.
What is your quote to live by?
"I think somehow you need to get to a certain point in your life where the notion of failure is absurd" – Jeff Tweedy.
What are you working on at the moment?
A couple of exciting commissions - one for Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and the other for University College Hospital London - are taking shape. I am also currently working on a number of new works for a planned solo exhibition in 2019, it's been a couple of years so I need and want to make a major new body of work!