In June 2010 Crow Toes Quarterly took a dollop of M.S.T. Company's brilliant head typist Michael Sasi, two tablespoons of surreal children's artist Kristian Adam and one sprinkle of the wonderfully unique Ayden Gallery, and we mixed it all together in a giant bowl. After pouring the mixture into a large pan and baking it for three months at 350 degrees, ANIMALOPOLIS was ready to consume. ANIMALOPOLIS was an art exhibit... a collection of short stories... a completely unique event. The exhibit was also the centerpiece of Crow Toes Quarterly's 14th Issue, which remains the most popular issue of the magazine to date (and can once again be purchased HERE).
ANIMALOPOLIS was a great success, and it was such an inspiring experience for me that I couldn't wait to do it again. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get another event together before I closed CTQ's doors in early 2011. This, my friends, was a crying shame, because on November 4th, Kristian Adam will be unveiling his new exhibit FLOMBAGOO at Ayden Gallery and it is some kind of special. Had it appeared in Crow Toes Quarterly, our little arts and literature magazine for children would have gone global.
To celebrate FLOMBAGOO, I thought I'd share with you a little information about the artist and about the way his art affects me. Kristian Adam is, in my humble opinion, one of the most creative, inspiring artists in the world. I know this is a big statement, but I base it on how I feel when I view his work. Kristian's surreal, playful paintings and illustrations fill me with childlike wonder and joy. They put me in a world I'd love to live in forever. And I guess that is why I own so many of them. My home looks more like a Kristian Adam gallery than a home. No word of a lie!
I met Kristian in 2007 by way of M.S.T. Company's Michael Sasi (another person who inspires me greatly, who will be talked about in length in a future post and who will probably be mentioned often in this blog). Michael had submitted a story to Crow Toes Quarterly called MARCH OF THE FAT BABIES. A collection of paintings unlike any paintings I had ever seen before accompanied the story. They were exactly the types of paintings I had imagined gracing the pages CTQ when the idea of the magazine came to me. The prints in my hands were filled with strange characters who all had big, revealing eyes. Hooks held up landscapes, babies carried houses on their heads and little girls worshiped slices of cheesecake. When I shared the work with other staff members, I heard the same thing over and over again, "He's like Dali for Kids." It was an easy designation at the time, because it was the only way to describe something so different... something so new.
We published MARCH OF THE FAT BABIES in Crow Toes Quarterly's 3rd Issue and Kristian's painting THE PUMPKIN GANG graced the issue's cover. The art that accompanied FAT BABIES inspired me to write a word from the editor (or what we liked to call A WORD FROM YOUR HUMBLE NARRATOR) about the thin line between fascinating and frightening, and how things we deem strange or outwardly terrifying can actually be quite fascinating when you take the time (and the chance) to learn about them.
When I finally had a chance to meet Kristian, I didn't hesitate for a moment. I met Kristian and Michael at Granville Island in Vancouver and we spent several hours talking about art and writing and life. It was then that I learned that Kristian Adam is so much more than just a "Dali for kids". I learned that Kristian is someone who sees the world differently from the way I see it. And the way that he sees it is beautiful and scary and innocent and thought provoking all at the same time. This view of the world can be seen in every painting and drawing he does.
From that first meeting, Crow Toes Quarterly and Kristian Adam built up a great partnership. His work appeared in seven more issues and on the covers of The Fifth Issue, The Seventh Issue, The Ninth Issue (which was an original piece painted for M.S.T. Company's hilarious story SUPER RUPERT) and, of course, The Fourteenth Issue (ANIMALOPOLIS).
When I had decided in early 2009 that the CTQ Staff needed a new staff portrait, Kristian was my obvious choice for creating such a thing. Using the staff's old head shots, he re-imagined The Narrator, The Staff Villain, Ogilvy the Lackey and Poinsettia Park, and in doing so, gave them new life. His brilliant staff portrait graced the wall of our office and our website for the last two years of our existence, and is still up on the wall in my office. When I think back to my days with CTQ, his staff portrait is the first thing that enters my mind. Powerful.
I may be a little biased now because Kristian has become a friend, but all you have to do is take some time to look at his work and you will understand why I am such a fan. FLOMBAGOO may be his most accessible exhibit to date, which means, there will be something there for everyone. Kristian has incorporated real animals with his surreal characters and the merging of real and surreal is playful, emotional and awe-inspiring. If you've never seen Kristian's art inside a gallery before, FLOMBAGOO really is the perfect place to start.
Opening November 4th, 2011 - 7pm to 11pm
New paintings by KRISTIAN ADAM
Artists in Attendance
Exhibition Closes December 4th, 2011