Who are you? What do you do and why do you do it?
I am Adriana Artmeier, a 25-year-old, Melbourne based artist originally from Munich (Germany). I started drawing Portraits around 2008 but slowly moved into a creepy and surrealistic direction with my work over the years.
My grandmother and I always drew or painted together, so after she died, it was my way to cope with certain situations and continue what my grandmother started.
How has your practice changed over time?
As I mentioned before, it started with graphite portrait drawing, which is the complete opposite of what I work with now. After a couple of years, only working in black and white, I slowly started introducing colour to my portrait drawings, then completely switched over to coloured pencils. In 2018 I began to paint with acrylics. Since then, I've been experimenting with different mediums like oils, gold leaf, etc.
What art do you most identify with?
I would say that I identify with a lot of dark surrealism or dark realism. In school, I had to do a presentation about Francisco de Goya, who influenced me immensely later in my artwork, and it was the first artist that did work I could identify with in some way. Something is comforting about those sort of paintings that I can't explain.
What themes do you pursue?
At the moment, I mostly pursue ocean-related themes, but most of the time, I seek mental health topics and everything that bothers me at the time. I can't pinpoint any specific subject, but most of it at the moment is mental health. Ocean-related things might be a weird connection to some, but the ocean and diving help me with some mental health issues and make me very happy, so it's some sort of "problem" - "solution" relationship.
If you have one, what's your favourite artwork?
I have so many artworks I love from other artists I really wouldn't choose any specific one, but my favourite is the "Made in Atlantis" painting when it comes to the ones that I created.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
One of the most recent ones was scuba diving before the lockdown last year. Just seeing those beautiful creatures slowly swimming around you while the only thing you hear is yourself breathing just makes you realize how small we are, which inspired the "Made in Atlantis" painting. And even though we are so little, we create such a huge impact and destroy more and more of this planet and rob those beautiful creatures of their lives, which is heartbreaking. That's one reason I also started the "sea shepherd series" which donates $10 from every purchased painting to the Sea Shepherd foundation.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
SO MANY. I don't even know where to start. I have walked dogs, worked in retail stores, call centres, door knocking for a solar company and charity, kiosk sales for Electricity and charity worked for refugees. I was also a nanny, a tutor, waitress, worked for a glass artist, and the list just goes on and on. I started working quite early and a lot of these Jobs I did at the same time. To come to Australia (to afford it) I had 5+ jobs to attend to per day. It started with dog walking in the morning, then being a nanny for most of the day, during the evening I did tutoring, I worked as a merchandise sales chick at concerts. After that, I worked on logos or t-shirt designs for different companies, etc.
Why is art influential in todays' society?
There are so many different reasons why I think that art is essential in today's society. It makes you think about topics many people don't want to talk about openly, making it a necessary media for communication. Without art, the world would be sterile and boring, imagine looking around, and all you see is bare walls. Art creates comfort, which is quite essential in this busy world we live in.
Is your artistic life lonely, or do you find living as an artist to be lonely?
It's both. I wouldn't say that the artistic life is lonely I'd say it's owning a business in today's time. I am working 6/7 days a week in some sense, and you lose many friends that way. There is a lot of "Sorry I can't come today because I got a commission in" or "Sorry I don't have time to hang out, I have to promote today". It's a lot more than just painting as well. There's a lot of admin work, running around, delivering paintings, getting prints, coming up with concepts, writing invoices, planning exhibitions, organizing promotions and managing all the different social media platforms. That takes a lot of time even if it might not sound like much to many people. Finding time for a social life is rare and, a lot of people don't want to deal with that weird schedule, so it is very isolating and very fulfilling. I can't see myself doing anything else for the rest of my life.
What do you dislike about the art world?
There is a lot of pretentious art and people out there. For me, art is about skill and creativity. There is lots of art out there that gets praised for "deep meaning": just empty words on a piece of paper and a banana taped to a wall.
What makes you angry?
Animal cruelty. Drum lines. People.
What is your dream project?
Oh, so so many. One of my dream projects (might sound a bit weird) is to buy a little witch house somewhere close to the ocean and paint every bit of it. What I mean by that is basically that every room has a different theme. I would fill my studio with ocean creatures and scuba diver paintings to feel like I am painting underwater, the entrance room or floor or whatever it might be will be Harry Potter themed and so on. It will be A LOT of work to undertake and take ages, but I can't wait.
What's the best piece of advice you've received?
"Draw/Paint what you see" which sounds like a bit of very useless and stupid advice but something clicked in my head when I heard it, and somehow It upped my game when it comes to realism. It made me focus more on little details I would've never seen, but apparently, I sound like a crazy person when I give that "advice" to anyone else. I don't know why that simple line worked for me, but it did.
What superpower would you have and why?
I'd love to breathe underwater. Scuba diving is pretty close, but you have to go up at one point and also you have all of that equipment connected to you so it would be fantastic not to have all of that and just move around like a fish.
Professionally, what's your art goal?
My art goal is to be able to support myself without doing commissions. It would be amazing to sell my originals and the work that I created from scratch from a weird idea that popped up in my head. I love doing commissions, but most of the time, people ask for things I don't specialize in, which many artists can relate.
This year's goal is to get into more exhibitions, get a printer so that I can create my prints, and maybe by the end of the year, I'll be able to get a separate studio space that would be amazing.
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