Meet Adam Patwa, who you’ll be seeing more of around Levine Center for the Arts.
By Sara Carson Mint Museum Intern
Adam Patwa, also known as “the Arts Guy,” serves as the voice of the Levine Center of the Arts, as part of a campaign provided by the THRIVE Fund and administered by Foundation For The Carolinas. Patwa works to simplify the fine arts experience with humor and a lighthearted tone. So in that spirit, we sat down with him to get his take on some serious(ly funny) art questions.
Q: Famous artist Vincent Van Gogh once cut off part of his ear and gave it to a prostitute. If you were to chop off one of your body parts, what would it be, who would you send it to, and why
A: I would cut off an arm and send it to my insurance company. It would be a metaphor.
Q: If you had to guess, what do you think the farmer and his wife are thinking about in Grant Wood’s “American Gothic”?
A: “Who are those yuppies?” or “Martha, did you close the gate on the pig pen?”
Q: If you could visit any historic time period in the history of art, which would you choose, and why?
A: I think I would have to choose the Italian Renaissance. Not only was it producing some of the most lasting and impressive art ever, it was also rife with scandal and intrigue surrounding the political economy of art and what it could accomplish for the families that financed it. It would make for a great cable miniseries.
Q: What is your favorite work of art you have ever personally created, and why?
A: In high school, I drew a picture of my shoe for art class. We used a technique that I can’t remember the name of, but it’s a training technique for young artists. We weren’t allowed to…look at the paper. We had to keep our gaze on what we were drawing and use the feeling to recreate it on the page. The whole time, I thought it was a waste of time and that my drawing would be horrendous. I’ll never forget the feeling I had when looking at the paper. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was such a unique representation of my shoe. I could tell what it was and no one else could have done it. I was truly surprised by what I had done. I felt like a conduit of beauty and creation. [Patwa describes a technique known as blind contour drawing.]
Q: In your opinion, is it possible to distinguish good art from bad art? If not, why won’t The Mint Museum accept my submissions?
A: That’s a great question. I’m not sure you can any more since irony has taken on an artistic quality all it’s own. I’m sure they are lost in the mailroom somewhere. Keep sending them! (Or come to a Sunday Fun Day and create some more!)
You can find The Arts Guy year-round touring Levine Center for the Arts institutions, speaking at live events, or on LevineCenterArts.org.