© 2020 Adam Chalupa

"This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:22

Identity in Science and Paint

Painting to me is a way to project my inner thoughts and ideas out into space. When I got out of high school I didn't really have any direction in my life. I knew I wanted to be an artist, but that was just because I'd dabbled in art for so long. I guess I strung along the idea of being an artist because I thought it was what I was "supposed to be." It wasn't until I took a summer-long trip to England where I worked as a farm hand in 2010 did I start rethinking life and the pursuits within it. I guess after a screenless summer traveling around with a sketch pad (and some screamo albums on my ipod) did I want to make a change in my life. This wasn't the kind of change where I got a new job or started eating only bell peppers, it was (at least what I thought then) the exact opposite of an art career: I wanted to study the sciences.

I'd never felt like I was "gifted" or "talented" at math, in fact I had a thick-deposited film over that portion of my brain. My high school math teacher would belittle me for doodling on my notes and slacking off on homework (he was also a teacher that focused on the motivated students). I'd failed the high school algebra sections on the SAT and placement tests, and for college was forced into one of the bottom remedial math classes (for getting a 9/100 on the math section). I was at a low with pursuing anything science related, but deep beneath that thick layer of self-doubt and depression there was something alive: a quiet, calm flame. I dropped out of school, and after a month of tutoring myself algebra from a free website, I applied at a different uni and went to take the placement test. 

I won't go into too much detail, but the placement test went unexpected. When I showed up, the girl behind the counter told me that there they were offering the Compass placement test for free that day. I'd never heard of it, but decided to take it because it was free (I was there for the Accuplacer). 

I loved to discover and learn.

I base a lot of who I am now in how I paint, this wasn't always the case. I think Tame Impala's new album's lyrics hit the nail on the head: "'Cause what we did, one day on a whim, will slowly become all we do." When I graduated and was done with school, I was sitting in my in-laws shed and had a thought. That thought became an idea, and a space was born where I did nothing but paint. I'd smoke cheap cigarettes, nice whiskey, and delve into worlds unknown. I have always been about volumetric painting, finding a point in which I am more than a line or value - volumes should consume. 

I paint exclusively with acrylics and use the brands Golden or Matisse Structure. They are thicker paints and allow easy stretching with water for washing or shading. I've painted on wood, masonite, and other mediums but prefer canvas. My technique is very scatter brained, I always just randomly work my way around a canvas in nonlinear chunks. Composition is very important, but I have a hard time finding balance earlier in a piece (unless I really have a solid idea on what I'm doing).

I don't like to say I learned how to paint traditionally, it was only took a few art classes early on in college and we mainly used charcoal or ink. Back then I thought I was going to be a graphic designer, since I was already working as one during that time. My dad was a musician and my mom an artist, so I had appropriate influences at an early age and mom put me in crafting/art lessons. It wasn't til I graduated high school did I start focusing on becoming a better artist.  

Painting starting becoming interesting to me when I was 18. My mom had a load of cheap hobby lobby craft paint lying around from years of collecting for various projects. The idea of painting felt like building volumes in space, and less like sketching out lines to color in (which was all I was doing at the time); it wasn't as easy to just pick up a brush and create a composition as it was sketching out a drawing with pencils or pens. In truth, when I first made my first painting ever on a cheap 1.5' x 2' canvas, there wasn't a love connection. It took me months to try another, which I eventually did, but again there was no connection. It wasn't until 2011, when I was 22 and getting married, and we had empty walls in our new apartment. That gave me enough momentum to start painting seriously.