Gregory Adamson’s performance art is performance and art; attendees observe Adamson create a 6’X6’ painting during a 10-13 minute performance. Then, after the applause dies down, there is a live auction where one lucky attendee will take home the just-created piece. Best of all, all of the money raised goes to the charity hosting the event.
For this life-long art lover actually working as an artist is relatively new. It was banking where he spent most of his professional life.
“I grew up in the sticks of South Dakota and we lived by conservative, midwestern values; art was not a career option. I was a good student and was nudged toward banking with a metaphorical boot to my backside. Fortunately, I was good at it and it provided a good living and stability for me and my family,” said Adamson during our chat. “After a while people get caught in life with responsibilities – mortgages, a family, etc … gradually your dreams slip further away and you find you haven’t spent a lot of time doing what you thought your life would be. You can make a choice and either run out the clock living that way or you can do something about it,” Adamson explained.
Adamson opted for the latter, so during his last decade as a banker he began to study with working artists who became his mentors. “When I got to the point where I could walk away from banking, I had my 10,000 hours [the number of hours Malcolm Gladwell posits is necessary to attain expertise in one’s field] and becoming a professional artist wasn’t nearly as scary as if I hadn’t spent all of my time preparing for it. It’s been a fantastic ride for the past three years — better than I thought it would be,” said Adamson.
But the artist wanted to do more than create fine, vibrant portraits, he wanted to give back; “through a series of events I thought that my art had a bigger purpose and I could use painting to infect people with creativity and help organizations raise money,” said Adamson who not only paints for philanthropy but also teaches others to embrace their inner Jackson Pollack at The Riverside Museum on whose board he serves. “I get people who have never painted in their lives and they leave with a painting that they’re proud of. I walk them through the process so that if they just do each step with me that they will end up with a piece of art,” said Adamson of his always sold-out Art d’Vine workshops.
In addition to the Riverside Museum, Adamson has donated his talent to charities including, the California Association for the Gifted, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, and the Grammy Foundation’s MusiCares events for whom he’s created several portraits. To date, he has raised several hundred thousand dollars for these and other charities with an average painting garnering $3000-$10,000.
He has painted throughout the USA and abroad, performing mainly at fundraisers and festivals, but also at concerts with major recording artists, and at regional and national political events. His commissioned works are owned or exhibited by celebrities, elected officials, major corporations, public institutions, professional firms, and in the Congressional Offices in Washington, D.C. His work has also been exhibited in New York, Canada, United Kingdom, China and Japan.
To find out more about Gregory Adamson; artist, inspiration and philanthropist click here
To learn more about a Los Angeles event at which he performed click here