Adam One’s landscapes are amalgamations: classical mythologies and forms meld with mid-century sci-fi fantasy vibes, which may, in turn, fold in (or out) onto maps of esoteric cosmologies. Or sometimes they conjure images of the fantastical, monster-riddled subterranean explorations of Jules Verne.
Using materials like gouache, ink and gold leaf, One renders these surreal scenes with technical precision. It’s no surprise that his sketchbooks show as much attention to detail.
“The sketchbook is my origin and my final place of rest,” One says of his practice. “It is The Fool of the Tarot, a formless yet boundless force of pure imagination and innocent enthusiasm. Every journey begins here, every day begins here. My practice moves with the inertia that is catalyzed in these pages; my sketchbook is how I think. For me, motion is what builds inspiration, and it is here that I can put pen to page with absolutely no attachment to the outcome. My approach to sketching is very free form—it’s automatic drawing. I never go in with a plan.”
He continues: “As lines become simple rudimentary shapes, my mind starts to see pictures in the chaos like a Rorschach blot and when it latches on to something I allow that image to fully emerge by rendering it out. I have yet to meet an artist’s block that wasn’t solved by this process. Once the imagination is activated it’s so easy to transfer that energy over into my paintings and continue with my more meaningful work, though sometimes I’ll be enjoying myself so much that I’ll spend all day with the ballpoint pen and make sketches with more finality than others. A state of child-mind can be reached with this method that is pure bliss, and the fun I’m having truly shows to the viewer.”