justART! Adam Lupton

Interview by Alan Ng
Words by Kevin Williams
Photography by Jenkin Au


The justalilhype! Crew had a chance to talk to Adam Lupton, a recent graduate of Emily Carr’s Communication Design program. Along with his art involvement in school projects, he has also designed t-shirts and freelanced for many individual graphics artwork on his spare time. He speaks to us about his insight about art, and what he plans to do after graduation. Along with a deep discussion of comparing institutional art and self-taught art, he also depicts his artwork to us in detail, revealing the message behind each of his creations.

Please describe yourself to our readers.

Born and raised in Vancouver. I try to blend myself into everything that I do. Blend my design and my art back and forth so they can be related off one another.

Speaking of your academics, you just recently graduated from Emily Carr. How does your education reflect upon your art?

I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Communication Design. It’s definitely made me think a lot more. Emily Carr has a big stigma around it, being very conceptual based. You kind of get knocked off from it when you are out looking for jobs. It made me think about the why everything has to be there.

How do you express yourself through art?

I paint, that’s my main form of art practice. I also make t-shirts. My painting is sort of more message-driven. Looking at contemporary society and how we fit in society.

Art is a form of expression, do you think each of your art pieces tell a story?

Yea, I mean I think everyone thinks they do. Everyone says that their own art tells a story. Definitely more of my contemporary pieces have a lot of deeper messages in them. Now I try to incorporate text into them and that has to do with my school background when I fell in love with typography. Now I incorporate that into my paintings to sort of overlap, to find a balance between traditional painting and contemporary design aspects of typography.

Tell us about the shirts that you have designed.

It wasn’t anything that I really thought about. In high school I was really into stenciling in the city so I just started putting it on my shirts. In University I took a Silk Screening course then I started making t-shirts out of that. People were interested in my shirts and I started selling them. I kind of took off from there. Then I won a contest from Holt Renfrew with a company called Modern Amusement and then I started putting them into some stores. It’s just taking off now. It’s nothing I expected but I just like making stuff to wear.

What suggestions do you have for artists in our city in pushing their art out there?

Never say no. There was a time when I was so over loaded with work and I just couldn’t take it anymore. When people asked me to do something, you are not in a position to really say no yet. I always did work for Barcelona nightclub. I did some of their flyers and stuff but it was during my Grad project, so I couldn’t do it right away. But I am going to find time to do it so that, you can network that way and build up your relationships.

A lot of times, many people compare institutional learning of art to self-learning methods. What’s your view on that?

The one best thing about it, going back to first year I was more into the art side of things, after that I went to design. It gives you the opportunity to do it. When you’re sitting at home yourself, you don’t have the motivation to do it. In school, it gives you the opportunity and space to paint or sculpt. But then again, you can also do it yourself and can only screw it up so many times. But you will know you’re instinctive from experiences much better than people telling you. I think a blend of both would be ideal. If you can get some education in, that’s great. But learning from other people is important because you can’t do everything yourself.

Looking at various artists, many of them have a dream project or goal. Do you have one?

My canvases always get bigger and bigger as I keep painting. If I can paint on a gigantic wall, that would be fantastic.

Out of all the projects that you have worked on in the past, which project was the most worthwhile?

You always find something wrong with them. They are never quite finished.  I mean, a piece of mine called “Society of the Spectacle” is probably my favorite piece that I have done so far. On a strictly painting term, I think that would be it.

What’s next for you? What plans do you have ahead?

I don’t think I can ever take a break from art, I mean I plan on traveling to Europe, while I am there; I plan to do a design project along the way. Everything in my life kind of relates back to my art. Whatever I do, it’s going to influence how I perceive things and how I do things. Right now, I mean I am just trying to wrap my ahead about being done school. You have so much spare time on your hands it’s overwhelming. I am going to have a nice break then I am also going to work for my next deadline. I am going to take a break and travel, then settle down and get a job.

Do you think your art fits politically in anyway?

Definitely, I don’t see it hung in hospitals or libraries. It’s a bit taboo in that sense. It definitely has a social impact and a societal message behind it.

To yourself, what are some of the main issues that you want to express through art?

I am very into people. I love people watching and I am also very into psychology. Not this last project, but my first term project was on the negative sociological and psychological effects of technology. It’s about how disconnected we have become, in emailing all the time and texting and not being interactive in a face-to-face basis. It gave ways to sort of overcome these things.

Looking at your business card, there’s a symbol behind it. What’s the meaning behind the logo?

It’s definitely been part of my brand as I am going to use that on my shirts. I had this great idea, it was these triangles that were colliding in outer space, so the idea of that is that the triangle represents me and the circle with the dot is a Bohr model of a hydrogen atom. The hydrogen atom has one electron to share, but it’s always complete by itself. The meaning about it means that I am always complete myself but I can share with other people as well.

What is HYPE?

HYPE means taking something and blowing it up. Telling so many people about it, making them so excited about it that they can’t wait to see, or hear, or experience what you are telling them about. Just making them as excited as you are.