BK is Mountainfilm in Telluride‘s very first artist-in-residence, in a first-time collaboration with Telluride Arts. During his stay in town, (May 7 – May 27), BK is holed up in Telluride Arts’ Stronghouse Studios, welcoming visitors into his magical world of transformation. Friday, May 25, his output officially goes on display during Mountainfilm’s kickoff event, Gallery Walk.
Expect paint. Lots and lots of paint layered like icing on a really gooey cake over found objects such as furniture, toys, bits of metal, bicycles, mannequins, lamps, parachutes. You toss it. BK re-imagines it. We see BK as a latter-day Abstract Expressionist. And if you know anything about art history, you know a synonym for AbEx was “action painting.” The “ism,” which celebrated the physical act of making art, combined the emotional intensity of the German Expressionists, (who professed to paint their souls onto their canvases), with the anti-representational aesthetic of European abstract schools, including Cubism. Abstract Expressionist art of post-World War II America was nothing if not rebellious, anarchic, and idiosyncratic. BK to a “T.”
BK’s story begin in Washington, D.C., 20-something years ago (?), where he grew up in Brookland “in the Christian Church.” As a young man, his spiritual quest led him to travel West to California and eventually to Central America. He settled in Mt Rainier, Maryland, for a while, where he ran The Eye Opener (talk about telling it like it is) Coffee Shop before returning to D.C. to shake things up around our nation’s capitol.
BK sees himself as the city’s “premier ambassador of art for all people.” A self-described “walking exhibit,” BK’s eclectic public art installations are known to pop up like spring flowers all over the city without notice. Some of his art has been displayed in galleries. All of it is embraced by his growing fan base. (His most recent accolade was the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts, the “2011 Janos Enyedi Artist of the Year Award.”)
BK’s goal is simple: he wants his viewers to “get involved with art,” hence the name of a show of his work at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum, “Exercise Your Mynd.” The exhibition (August 22 – November 27, 2011), the largest compilation of the artist’s work to date, 50 pieces in all, included towering sculptures, large-scale paintings, photographs, and a video.
“BK Adams challenges his viewer to see the world not as it is, but as it might be,” explained Portia James, exhibition curator. “BK calls the viewer to get involved with art.”
BK is known as the “Art Man” around D.C., a moniker that traveled with him to Telluride, where I Am Art now shares the wild and woolly landscapes of his imagination with new friends at the Stronghouse Studios and beyond.
Excerpts from BK interviewing himself, words he sent our way to understand him better, provides insights into a unique mind. To say the least.
“BK Adams Interviews bk.iamart.adams”
Q. How much does love cost?
A. A Sacrifice
Q. R u willing to change your name and how people view u in everyday life 2 accomplish your desire?
A. “i am Art”
Q. What does the zone feel like once your there?
A. Lonely in Joy
Q. Why so many colors?
A. Love hides a multitude of sin
Q. Do u have any friends?
A. i Love mi “en-no-me’s”
Q. Do u believe in mistakes?
A. I create them and then publish them.
Q. Do u work with found objects?
A. No, just Gifts from Heaven
Q. Do u consider yourself an African American?
A. I’m an international Black Primary.
Q. Have u ever failed at anything?
A. Yes, the natural world. So I moved 2 the spiritual world, where no one can hide. TRUE COLORS HERE!!!
Q. Do u look in the mirror in the morning?
A. No, I wait until I get to my studie/studio and view mi work that’s mi mirror.
Q. Is talk cheap?
A. When no work is on the table
Q. Do u have any fears?
A. one [GOD]
Q. Do u consider yourself an Artist?
A. I am a Thinker 1st
Q. Do u have a favorite color?
A. Yes, the World
Q. R u rich?
A. Yes, in vision.
Q. Do u like pets?
A. Oh, I love cash, lots of it.
Q. Did u graduate from high school?
A. I thought so, but every time I applied 4 college, they denied me.
Q. Do u have any regrets?
A. if I answer, I will !!!
Q. have u ever gotten lost?
A. Until I figured out that was part of the process.
And here’s one of BK’s poems:
Sleeps with his tools
Until they become
Of Him/His Mynd
Faithful 2 the Vision
Is BK a genius? His tools are life’s flotsam. He celebrates your stuff. My stuff. His stuff. He sleeps with it. He wakes with it. He lives stuff everyday and makes it different. Better:
“I’m into details. I’m into making a small detail big and living it big. Celebrating a small thing like a small moment. Those are the things that turn my world.”
Check out Clint Viebrock’s video of BK I Am Art’s work before heading over to the Stronghouse Studios to meet the man and view the work firsthand: