Artist profile: Adrienne Kammerer

Meeting the city's artists, one at a time


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An artist profile of Adrienne Kammerer.

Can you talk a little about your show (with Jamilya Lowe) “joined in darkness” that is currently in Penny Arcade? And what are your inspirations behind it?

Our mutual friend Rachel who owns Penny Arcade invited us to show our work there. It’s primarily a vintage shop, but every month or so she uses the space to put on an event. Jamiyla’s been a friend of mine for a few years now and I’ve always really liked her work.

I suppose my drawings are an attempt at glorifying the awkward. The subjects I choose aren’t by most peoples standards beautiful or handsome. Most of their hairstyle and fashion choices are tragically dated. The poses tend to be stiff and uncomfortable.

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Describe your process of creating a piece? And tell me what kind of materials you use for your drawings?

I use photo references for all my work, so the first thing I do is find an appropriate image to work from. I think some people like the fact that the drawings come from existing images and not from my imagination because it means that these characters really exist. For example, the stoic hillbilly with the 7″ high mullet and the acid wash overalls actually decided to walk into a professional photo studio to have his portrait taken. In terms of materials I use a mechanical pencil that takes 0.3mm lead, a kneadable erasure and different kinds of paper depending on the size of the drawing (canson bristol for a small drawing because it’s smoother and allows for more detail and maidstone for a larger drawing). It can get pretty tedious rendering those 7″ mullets so audio books and podcasts are a must.

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Can you tell me about your art school experience? Was it positive?

My art school experience was the antithesis of positive. My only goal when I enrolled was to get out of the suburbs and move to a bigger city. With my high school grades being what they were, art school seemed like the logical solution. I dropped out before the first year was over. For the next 4 years after dropping out I worked a succession of shitty minimum wage jobs until I was hired at my current job at a vintage clothing store. To pass the time at work I started drawing. The boss is pretty relaxed and never said anything to discourage me from drawing on the job, so I continued. After about a year my work ended up in a group show at Narwhal.

When are you most productive?

Whenever I have free time at wok or at home I tend to draw. It’s become sort of a default activity. A year ago, before I started drawing, I could often be heard bellyaching about how incredibly bored I was.

What are you currently obsessed with? Any blogs, pod casts, films or artists?

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I hopped on the blog wagon a few weeks ago and started one of my own (adriennekammerer.blogspot.com/).

Since then I’ve been reading all my friends blogs:

I’ve found some really great images for drawings from this blog: sexypeople-blog.com

Some of my favorite artists are: Boris Lopez, Tom of Finland, Benjamin Marra, Andre Ethier and David Jien.

What are your thoughts on the Toronto art scene, compared to other places you have experienced?

New York and London both have great art scenes but I think I prefer the community of a smaller art scene like Toronto’s. I also really like Pittsburgh. Post-industry Pittsburgh lost something like 90% of it’s population so a lot of the city is abandoned. The rent is ridiculously cheap and the city does a lot to encourage artists to move there. The scene there is relatively small now, but I can definitely see it growing.

What are some of your favourite spots in the city? Places to go eat, drink , bike ride?

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Proximity to where I live and work are key factors. Ella’s uncle and Ideal for coffee. Golden Turtle, the Lakeview and Caffe Brasiliano for food. I have a weird obsession with the Dufferin mall. It’s unhealthy how often I go there. Value Village and the Toronto Reference Library also make the list.

Any last words?

So long and thanks for all the fish?[rssbreak]

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