Adam Craemer: The Embodiment of 2010s ‘Urban Pop’
Our artist of the Week: Adam Craemer
We’re always delighted here at Addicted Art Gallery to take on new artists who’re showing just what is possible in our current, tumultuous decade, drawing upon some of the most fundamental motifs and components of art history: the female form, the abstract flourish, the rough edge of ‘street art’.
It turns out that one of the latest creative practitioners to come under the Addicted Art Gallery umbrella, Adam Craemer, has quite the background in all of these areas. Even the most casual of observers of the Cape Town native’s oeuvre would detect the influence of the culture of graffiti art, and sure enough, he has more than dabbled in that.
Yet, there is also a clear appreciation of the elegance of women and the scope for colourful and monochromatic imagery alike to be combined and clashed in all manner of compelling and captivating ways. So, where has Adam Craemer come from, what has he achieved along the way and what are the characteristics of his practice that are continuing to make him one of today’s most relevant artists?
An artist always looking to go well beyond graffiti
Born in South Africa to two artist parents, it’s perhaps not a shock that Craemer would feel the creative instinct himself. What may be a little more surprising to many observers are his less-than-favourable memories of art school — a focus on theory over practice was never going to be to the liking of an artist who always preferred to be out ‘in the field’.
That was literally the case for a short time — Craemer has recalled that with him and his friends being fascinated by graffiti and hip hop culture, they began to attend events where South Africa’s leading artists were to be found working on large murals. Not content with simply watching other masters, however, the group of pals got into creating street art themselves, with Craemer experimenting with graffiti both legally and illegally before being “busted while painting some trains”.
There had to be an alternative path by which the youngster could continue to cultivate his emerging creative identity, and it turned out to be slightly more traditional artistic territory: the canvas. One look at his now-trademark vibrant, energetic but also edgy compositions makes clear the lessons that he learned on the street-art scene, but also an appreciation of the kind of visual language with which even the most academically-minded art connoisseur can identify.
One of the most formidable street art ‘graduates’ active today
Yes, there are the enthralling dashes of spray painting, stencilling, marker pens, ink and epoxy resin that one may have expected from the work of an artist steeped in a distinctly urban background. But this is also an artist in love with landscapes, seascapes, the human figure and simply the most visceral language of painting. His works communicate not just energy, or boldness, or even urban toughness, but also emotion, experimentation and a simple sense of ‘letting go’.
It is a very clear creative identity that has brought Craemer no shortage of career accolades since his public emergence as an artist in the early 2000s, shortly after his arrival with his wife in Western Australia. Whether that recognition has come in the shape of formal prizes — such as finalist status in both the 2016 Mandjar Art Awards, and Winner of RAW arts visual award for Western Austrlia in 2014 — or instead through appearances in publications such as British GQ and Art Edit Magazine, or starring roles in group exhibitions at the likes of the Agora Gallery in New York City or Alcoa Mandurah Art Gallery in Western Australia, Craemer has more than proved himself in worldly terms.
But then, Craemer is a worldly artist in the way that really matters — on the canvas. At any one time, he is cutting or chopping up, exploring where his rhythm and emotions take him, and weaving densely complex webs of lines and patterns that you just can’t help but be enchanted by. He is a true embodiment of the finest values of 2010s ‘urban pop’, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have his sought-after original mixed-media works here at Addicted Art Gallery.