and Photography > What Others Say About Adi Da's
Art > Artweek.LA
Adi Da Samraj
Cover Story / Artist Profile
Week of September 5, 2011
Artweek.LA is made for people who love art and need
to know what's going on in Los Angeles. This article was first published on the
website. Journalist Craig Stephens is Australian born, but has resided in
the United States since January, 2000. His work has appeared in a spectrum of
global titles, including Artweek, The, Dart, Fabrik, LA Weekly, LA Times, Daily
Beast, GQ, Esquire, and others.
the fact he died in 2008, the work of Adi Da Samraj, artist, writer and spiritualist
lives on. Internationally he was a creative and technical visionary who produced
an exhaustive catalogue of work, spanning some 40 years.
In addition to his art, Adi Da was a spiritual teacher who produced tomes of writing
about the subject.
Adi Da began his first work in the early sixties and
during the first thirty years he produced a diverse body of drawings, paintings,
and sculptural forms. In 1998 he made the transition to photography and videography,
remaining entrenched in this media for six years.
His primary bodies of
work use the figurative form and other archetypes to address the deepest issues
of human existence. In 2006, he moved to digital technology, while still combining
hand-drawn and painted forms as well as photographs within his compositions. In
November 2007, he reached what he described as the "final resolution" of his entire
artistic process, before passing in 2008.
Since his death, a devoted team
who have meticulously catalogued and managed this vast collection of work, ensuring
it maintains a global presence, has overseen the work of Adi Da.
Eurydice One: The Illusory Fall of The Bicycle Into The Sub-Atomic Parallel
Worlds of Primary Color and Point of View - Part Three: The Abstract Narative
In Geome and Linead (Second Stage) - III, 4 (Diptych) 2007, 2010 Lacquer on aluminum
96 x 200"
click to enlarge
His self proclaimed “visual communication of truth,”
moreover his work has been since exhibited widely
in Europe and the United States. Adi Da was also featured as an official solo
collateral artist at the 2007 Venice
Stanley Hastings, an agent serving as a spokesperson
for the estate and collection revealed some insights into the perpetuation and
global profile Adi Da’s work, which has taken the form of fabrications, video
projections, digital prints and beyond.
“Adi Da did not consider
his work ‘digital art’, however, he pushed digital technology to its limits in
order to serve his artistic intentions. In the nineties, he explored the limits
of digital printing in terms of size and quality. He worked with master digital
printers from the west coast to the east coast, requiring them to develop custom
printing profiles and software to realize the requirements of his imagery.”
elaborates on Adi Da’s latter day technique stating that Adi Da was very careful
to develop and define a process that would continue after his lifetime.
He says that in 2006, Adi Da’s artistic work moved from
photography to working in a digital studio. With this form he composed all of
his images on a projection screen. Working in a studio with two large projection
screens he appointed one as a “paint box” or “image library” where he would review
scans of drawings and paintings he had made by hand, as well as his photographs.
The other (left) hand screen was his digital “canvas”. Elements
would be selected from the right screen and moved to the composition on the left
screen. A group of technical operators worked with Adi Da in this process, executing
his precise instructions. In addition to using such programs as Adobe Illustrator
and Photoshop they had to write custom software to accommodate the unique requirements
of Adi Da’s work.
Adi Da determined the exact paint values
for each of the colors he used on his projection screen. He never signed his one-of-a-kind
fabrications by hand, but instead opted to have a stainless steel plate permanently
attached to the back of each fabrication with his signature and the name of the
work laser-engraved on the plate.
click to enlarge
planning for his work to undergo fabrication, Adi Da allocated a size to each
of the images he created digitally as well. It takes about 4 months to complete
the fabrication of one of Adi Da’s images. However, he created thousands of images
to be fabricated. He knew that only a relative few would be able to be fabricated
during his lifetime, and so left exact directions for how the fabrications should
occur beyond his lifetime. This is all overseen in exact detail by his enduring
studio, which he named “Da
He worked closely with some of the world’s
best fine art fabricators to develop the fabrication of his art. The final result
was developed working directly with Peter Carlson of Carlson and Company who fabricated
all of Jeff Koons balloon dog and rabbit sculptures, Charles Ray and Ellsworth
Kelly’s large sculptures.
Peter Carlson often says that Adi
Da’s fabrications were, in fact, the most difficult and challenging project he
ever did. The end result is a most extraordinary translation of Adi Da’s digital
files into monumental scale screen painted lacquer on honeycomb aluminum panels.
The Florence Dance Company performing Divina.com
with Adi Da's Image-Art in
click to enlarge
In terms of influences, Adi Da particularly admired the
non-representational work of the European modernist painters of the early 20th
century, including Kandinsky, Mondrian, Malevich, and others. He also held American
abstract expressionists such as Gorky, Pollock, and Rothko in high regard.
Adi Da shows include a current exhibition, Orpheus
and Linead, which travelled to Sundaram Tagore Gallery in Beverly Hills from
their New York gallery, where it premiered
last September. Next year there is a plan for an exhibition at Galerie
103 on the Hawaiian island of Kauai of Adi Da’s early underwater photographic
work, followed by a show of his late work at the David
Richard Gallery in Santa Fe.
Adi Da’s work will also be
shown with David
Richard Gallery at Art Miami in December of this year. A museum show of work,
which premiered at the 2007
Venice Biennale, is also set for the Van
Der Togt Museum in Holland.
One: The Illusory Fall of The Bicycle Into The Sub-Atomic Parallel Worlds of Primary
Color and Point of View - Part Three: The Abstract Narrative In Geome and Linead
(Second Stage) - 1, 2 2007, 2010 Lacquer on aluminum 96 x 96"