Nancy Adams is a fine artist in the purest definition: work created specifically to be appreciated for its imaginative, aesthetic, or intellectual content. Her clients in the first part of her art career were a who’s who list from neighbors to motorcycle enthusiasts, musicians (famous ones) to international corporation, and her work was featured in as many places from Sturgis, to museums in New York and Europe. Adams painted everything from hot rods, custom motorcycles, and swimming pools to double decker buses.
Adams got her start at 15 by experimenting with tin can art, which led to competing, showing and winning as an adult at art shows and festivals that became so successful, she put herself through school at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and then two years at Butera School of Art, Boston.
It was while in college studying the fine arts that Nancy picked up her first motorcycle and hotrod painting commissions. It would be thirty years before she looked at tin cans again, and now with a new view point, design skills and aesthetic.
What drew you back to the tin can?
“All of my painting and drawing has been very tight and precise over the years,” Adams said. “The restrictive world of custom paint especially requires matching, mirrored sides and very refined finishes. If I make a mistake, it’s not a catastrophe from material cost…so it allows me to develop an idea without worry.”
“The fact that it is a tin can,” Adams continued, “Something that is considered a junk material, when cut with a torch, reshaped and tooled, presents itself in a completely different light; the subtle colors, the textures of the material lend itself to my sculptures. I work with the interior and exteriors of the cans to create a variety of colors, cut the shapes to represent a curvy softness, and at other moments an edgy spikiness.”
Nancy Adams and a few of her works of art, along with new lighting she installed at Town In City Brewing for her art reception.
Where did the animal trophy idea come from?
“The animal trophies are my way of showing love to the natural world. The animal kingdom is taken for granted…we barely know some species, yet soon many of them may disappear. So I wanted to make as many animal sculpts as possible to show we don’t have to have the real thing on our wall to show our love for them. Why can’t we make them from a material that is considered throwaway and keep the real things happily roaming the earth?”
“Whatever I make, though, I want it to have a happy and joyous twist. Yes, life has a lot of tragedy, but I want my art to make people smile and see the funny and upbeat side of life. The tin cans give me that sense of upbeat attitude with a joyous artful twist.”
Adams is serious about creating fun art to look at, especially with names like HippieDood (a dog), Killer Clown Bunny, Rambull and BadAzzBee.
Nancy Adams’ collection of trophy heads is on display at Town in City Brewing Company through January. Join her and her partner in tin can lunacy, aka John, her husband for a public reception from 7 – 9 p.m. Friday, January 13. You just might find a trophy head suitable for your castle.
Town in City Brewing Company is at 1125 W Cavalcade St. 77009. Follow Adams on Facebook.com/thetinarmadillo and her website thetinarmadillo.com.
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market, find him at ArtValet.com