Today we’d like to introduce you to Fafnir Adamites.
Fafnir, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I arrived at working in sculpture with wool and paper by way of a roundabout path. I studied photography and Women’s Studies at UMass Amherst for my undergraduate degree and after graduation I explored polaroid transfers and collage. Feeling the need to work more with my hands, and to explore some ideas about the impact of physical and mental repetition, I learned how to knit and soon found my way into a sculptural knitting class. This led to traditional wet felt making which became my primary studio practice for many years. Learning more about the history of women’s work and the traditions of craft in the art world, I became really interested in the impact of these histories and the potential for embedding conceptual meaning into the art I was making.
I went back to school in 2013 to get my MFA degree and pursue my art more seriously. I graduated from the Fiber and Material Studies Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015. Since then I have been showing my work regionally, I have been awarded a number of artists residencies and local cultural council grants and have had the chance to speak about my work publicly.
Since shooting performative photography in undergrad at UMass Amherst, to making abstract, sculptural work in the present, at a fundamental level, it has all been about grappling with identity and personal wayfinding.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Using felt making, papermaking and other traditional craft processes, I create sculptural and installation work that act as monuments and reminders of trauma, intuition and the legacy of emotional turmoil inherited from past generations. A major motivation in my artwork involves the theory that anxieties and traumas are embedded in a person’s DNA and are then passed down to the next generation. Using repetitious processes in the creation of the work allows me to physically engage with and meditate on the concepts I am working with.
I work mainly with paper and felt which I call “chaos structures”. Unlike a woven textile which is based on an orderly grid, my chaos structures are open-ended and are based on a disorderly foundation. A powerful transformation takes place in papermaking and felt making when the millions of chaotic fibers bind together to make a strong, cohesive, singular piece. My studio practice relies on a kind of collaboration with these materials: They can be unpredictable at times and I find that the most satisfying results come after I allow the materials to have a say in their direction. The conceptual depth rooted in these materials relates to my interest in reclaiming personal intuition within the chaotic landscape of trauma.
Material exploration and discovering ways to embed meaning into the materials is the starting point for all of my artwork and plays a key role in building the conceptual backing of each piece. There is a Sisyphean element to both the physical labor and the conceptual ideas. Retracing the path of ancestors, repeating personal patterns, physically reenacting gestures – acknowledging both my place as a maker within this context and the irresolvable nature of the concepts themselves.
Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
My biggest challenge as an artist is to find funding for the work that I do. Whether it is studio space, materials and tools, administrative fees, or costs associated with events and exhibitions, I pay out of pocket for most of it. It is not a sustainable practice and often prevents me from experimenting and taking chances in my work. Many organizations and institutions do not pay artists for exhibits, artist talks and other activities that we perform. I believe that these venues, schools, non-profits, galleries etc., should make it a priority to pay artists fair compensation for the work that we do. I find it very problematic when an organization pays other “contract labor”, then tells an artist that the exposure they are getting through their exhibit or artist talk should be enough payment. “Exposure” won’t pay my bills!.
In some cases, taking part in a show or giving an artist talk will result in a new connection that leads to a rewarding future opportunity. Often it does not. I am grateful for the grants that I have applied for and received in the past and I believe organizations like Mass Cultural Council are doing a lot to help artists achieve specific goals. My hope is that people who are in the position to invite artists to provide a service, will see the importance in compensating artists for their work. This is just one aspect of community-building and supporting some of the people who make your community more vibrant and interesting.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I am a member of Boston Sculptors Gallery and show my work there periodically. I have a number of upcoming exhibits in the area. My work was selected for the Cambridge Art Association National Prize Show, opening May 16. I will be exhibiting with Shao Yuan Zhang at Fountain Street Gallery in Boston, MA in July, and I will have solo exhibits at the Amy H. Carberry Fine Arts Gallery in Springfield, MA and the Ready wipe Gallery in Holyoke, MA. My portfolio and links to interviews and articles about my work can be found on my website: www.fafniradamites.com
You can also connect with me through the classes that I teach. In addition to the high school and college level classes, I teach adult workshops in the fiber studio at Snow Farm in Williamsburg, MA and the papermaking studio at Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY.
- Website: www.fafniradamites.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fafniradamites/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fafniradamitesart/
Aya Yamasaki Brown