New Fieldworks in Oil by Adam O’Day
Reception: Friday, May 4th, 2018, 5-9 pm
Kevin Day Studio / Gallery SoWa
460 Harrison Avenue, Unit B-17, Boston, MA 02118
As I travel from Boston to Jersey City, Downtown Manhattan, Midtown, Upper West Side, Long Island City, and Brooklyn, I find myself transforming into a raw version of myself. You take yourself out of your comfort zone, and you start to be influenced by different elements, in turn affecting your creative output. I’m away from my wife and daughter for the first time in a while, and it’s the last trip I’ll take before our 2nd daughter is born. I’m staying with a dear friend in Manhattan and he’s letting me use his art studio too. It’s mid September and it’s really hot, getting into the high 90s every day. I’m going to try to explain why this trip was so important and why this body of work is special. It’s a collection of paintings from Boston to New York City, telling the story of my late summer trip, 2017.
When I graduated college in 2005, I hated art and I hated that I went to art school. I was working at Shaw’s and Great Scott Bar when I got a job at 48hourprint.com. When I look back at my sketchbooks from that time, I find a few pages where I lay out my plan to create an art movement called “Don’t Give a Fuck Art Movement.” I would just pour my materials onto found objects and trashy canvases. I was in a low place in my life, living in an attic of a house, just barely getting by. The artwork I made was really fueled by rage and frustration. There were hard scratchy marks on the paintings and I would just walk right on top of a canvas with no regard for it. Sometimes I would pour beer and spit on them too. I really had no plan to be an artist in life. There was a turning point when I saw beauty in this out of the box “technique.” I applied this messy rage painting technique to a cityscape composition. As I watched the paint run down the canvas, I felt something real happen. I felt that I had found something that said exactly what I wanted to say with paint and collage. There was a section in my DGAF manifesto that said “The first idea is always the best.” And then it just said “If you don’t like it, paint it black.”
For a few years I used my manifesto as a guide to make wild artwork with messy paint drips and I didn’t hate art anymore. I tolerated it. People started to ask me to contribute to art shows. I’d show anywhere, because the manifesto was against snobs. And us DGAF artists help each other out. We get each other into art shows without taking the credit, without claiming “curator.” I started to see people move away from Boston because they couldn’t find a place in the art world for themselves here. But I stayed, doing over 100 art shows from 2007-2017 in the Boston area. I’ve heard feedback from friends and enemies alike, stating “You’re saturating Boston. You need to take a break from showing in Boston every now and then.” Perhaps they were right. But guess what? DGAF.
That brings me back to present day, where I’m painting in Long Island City with the homie, Sean Flood. He’s one of Boston’s greatest artists and an unknowing member of the DGAF movement. I’ve seen him punch holes in his paintings and smash bottles against them when a piece isn’t going his way. And I love it. I love knowing that those are knuckle marks on his canvases. So we painted, biked around NYC, drank cold beer, took photos, and just laughed a lot. It brought me back to my early days of painting, when I would just pummel the canvas with paint haphazardly. When the first idea was king.
This series is the culmination of all these years of developing a style, started by hating art and turning into what it is today. It’s something that I love deep inside my soul. I embrace it.
Adam J. O’Day
March 29th, 2018