VOICE 1156 Q&A WITH Adam Hathorn
Interview conducted by Noah Spahn

Voice 1156: Adam, what was your reaction to the two opening nights at Voice1156?
AH: I had a great time at both openings. I got to meet some good people, see some awesome art, and have a few drinks. I was excited to see the turn out on the second night, its nice to see that so many people are starting out their friday nights with an art show instead of hoppin the booze train early, and blackin out.

Voice1156: I might describe your work as an unlikely union between Byzantine altarpieces and graffiti tattoos, an unlikely combination to be sure: how would you describe your work? How do you account for the unlikely combination of genres?
AH: I would say that is a fair description of my work. I'm influenced by many different things. I started getting into art through graffiti, and skateboarding. I do want to say that I no longer have much to do with either. Graffiti, because I was never any good, I just liked to destroy stuff, I was more into doing throwups and tags than legal pieces, again cause the skill wasn't there. Not into skating anymore because I don't have medical insurance, and judging from my sk8 history, I fell on my hands alot, and I just cant afford to break the money makers. Definately inspired by tattooing, because thats my job, and a huge part of my life. I work with a great group of tattooers, who are awesome artists as well, so I gain my daily inspiration from co-workers. When I attended art school, I was forced to take some art history courses, which at the time I thought were useless, but turned out having a great influence in my art. I discovered art that I would have never seen whithout those courses. The Byzantine stuff I thought was cool because of the creepy emaciated characters and weird religious imagery. I was brought up catholic, but subscribe to no particular religion, art from all religions definitely interests me.

Voice1156: When we last spoke, you mentioned that you are able to maintain a certain level of inspiration from websites and the sketches that you and your friends e-mail each other: How do you think that technology has (and will) alter the way that artists are inspired and moved to produce art?
AH: Well technology has definately altered art in good ways and bad. Personally I get alot of inspiration from going to artists websites, and seeing what they are up to. At the same time 4 hours goes by, and it was spent going through everybodies links instead of producing art. I also think the more stuff I see, the more gets stored in the mental rolodex, and sometimes will overflow into my art, which sucks. The best thing that I had for inspiration on the computer was a little circle of likeminded artists that would email each other daily with sketches, tattoos, occasional finished paintings, all kinds of stuff. It was Gunnar(who I work with now) Craola, Jay Chastain, and occasionally a few others, but those were the regulars. So when I would check my email i would have a bunch of little inspirational images to keep me on track. I do regret to say that our little group is now too busy to keep up on that, and if I want to, I can just walk down stairs to see what Gunnar is up to.

Voice1156: I know that your style involves a lot of improvisational subject material, you have told me that you do goofy sketches: "making them up as you go"- do you see that as a common thread in your life or is it just limited to your art?
AH: I see it in my life as well I guess. With tattooing at a custom tattoo shop with very little flash to choose from wegenerally draw 90-95% of what we tattoo. So when people need an add on, a cover up, or just an idea produced, and they for some reason have to have it that day, it kinda puts you in a place where you need to come up with quick solutions, that make sense, and flow well with the body, and their idea. Fortunately in my outside of work art, I can have it make no sense at all, or only make sense to me. Most of the time my finished framed art is just a sketch in my sketchbook that I couldn'tput down. I very rarely set out for a finished product, and when I do, it usually gets junked due to over planning and time. I cant seem to work on a piece of art for more than a couple days before I get bored with it and stick it in a closet, thats the severe ADD coming out right there. Thats also why my art isn'tvery big, because my brain has moved on, and I would just be in a never ending circle of redoing stuff.

Voice1156: How much do you value your Degree in Illustration vs your real world experience at Guru Tattoo? What roles has each location ( and the corresponding experience) played in your development as an artist?
AH: I definately value my art school experience, maybe not so much the degree. The Degree hasn't necessarily gotten me anywhere, nobody is too impressed by it, and in reality it is just a piece of paper. The experience at school though was great. I've always drawn the way that I do, but art school opened my eyes to many other types of art, mediums, and the hustle you need to have as an artist. I was constantly working on illustration assignments, while being a tattoo apprentice, and working at the gas station. So I think I hustled alot more back then than I do now. I definately miss it, critiques mostly. I always took it as a competition, youre given an assignment, lets see who can come up with the best solution, it was kinda like my little internet circle, it kept me on my toes. My real world experience working at Guru and the places before have been hectic, both good and bad. The shop I apprenticed at, and worked at for a year was a tattoo shop run by art students, and was a custom studio as well, so it was a fairly laid back environment, but not too busy. When i moved to Atlanta I worked at a shop in the ghetto, which taught me how to hustle with tattooing a little more, how to keep customers in check, and how to draw some sweet baby mama names.I had a blast there, and wouldn't change it for anything. Coming to Guru is my most real life tattoo job. Its a high class shop, with some of the best tattooers around Southern California. So Im definately honored to have the chance to work there, but I am definately stressed some days. Only due to the way that I work. I tend to leave art for tattoos until a day or so before the appointment, but I honestly feel that is my best product. Like I said, i get sick of my own art too quick, so I don't want to be over the art before I get the chance to tattoo it. So some days I work 8 hours, then go home and do homework, so thats where my stress is, but again i wouldn't trade it for anything.

Voice1156: What are your artistic ambitions for the near future?
AH:I am currently working on art for a couple shows coming up, and once I finish those, I think that I am going to take some time for myself to maybe try out a new medium, and find something that I can really stick with. Something that I can move quick with that will make me happy.

Voice1156: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, and we look forward to seeing more of your art (tattoos) walking around and (paintings/sketches) in galleries!
AH: Thanks to the voice 1156 crew for allowing me to put my silly drawings on their walls. I had a blast, and it was an honor to be there. I too look forward to seeing more of my tattoos walkin around, that means I'm gettin paid whoooooo!