Speaker 1 (00:00):
Art is one of those freeing things that, that we don't have to stand in line. We don't have to conform.
Speaker 2 (00:09):
This is the Bold Artist podcast.
Speaker 3 (00:15):
You have answers, and you're expressing them in your art. Your art is important, and it needs to be seen.
Speaker 2 (00:23):
Welcome, and let's get started with today's episode.
Speaker 2 (00:31):
Welcome to episode six of the Bold Artist podcast. We're happy to introduce our guest, Adam Meikle, a talented artist, entrepreneur, and risk-taker from British Columbia, Canada, homeland of Bold School. That's right. Bold School proudly produces the Bold Artist podcast. If you're watching here on the Bold School YouTube channel, be sure to hit subscribe. You can also find us on your audio apps of choice, Apple, Google, Spotify. And if you find us there, we'll be under the Bold Artist podcast, and be sure to hit follow and leave a review here on the show. We love to give artists voices, to hear artists stories, and join in a global conversation about what it takes to be brave with your art. Our guest, Adam Meikle is one of those brave artists. Let's imagine for a minute, imagine opening a storefront studio in your community where spectators can watch you paint, and they're free to scrutinize your work in progress.
Speaker 2 (01:41):
Imagine a few short years later opening a cafe adjacent to your studio where customers can have an authentic dining experience surrounded by your art. And that sometimes you'll even speed paint commissions in front of your clients while they die. Imagine the bravery, the risk and the faith it takes to make steps like that. You're going to meet Adam Meikle, who is a man who has done everything I just described. You're going to find that my interview with Adam was very relaxed. Actually, we didn't even know we would be featured on YouTube. We thought we were recording for audio. So, you were going to hear life happen all around us. You'll hear the sound of a brass bell on Adam's studio door as it opens and closes, the ring of an old fashioned telephone, the clatter of dishes as the cafe customers are served. And we wouldn't want it any other way, because it's such a privilege to get a glimpse inside of a busy artist's world. Be sure to check out the show notes, to see Adam's links. Without further delay, let's go over to my interview with Adam Meikle.
Speaker 2 (02:59):
For starters, Adam, can you give us a snapshot of what life looks like for you right now? Who are you? Your lifestyle,studio, community...
Speaker 1 (03:09):
Like, a typical day?
Speaker 2 (03:12):
Typical day in the life of Adam Meikle artist.
Speaker 1 (03:16):
I usually fly out of bed almost late for something. Weird. We're kind of, we're kind of entrenched in the community a bit. So, we have responsibilities with different boards and committees that we sit on. So our lives are busy.
Speaker 2 (03:37):
So, when you're saying 'we,' let's paint the picture here. It's your family, right? The Meikle family.
Speaker 1 (03:44):
Yeah, for sure. We it's, uh, a family business. And, and now that we have two businesses under the same roof, it's even busier. So, it's, it's hectic. Our kids are, are older, so they're pretty self-sufficient they tell us what they, what they need, and we try and involve them as much as we can, but it doesn't always work. So, we would definitely fly out of bed, come down to the studio, get organized for the day, see what's on the calendar -- could have one class that could have four. Um, I got due dates on my calendars, so that... I'm really old school. Like I have a paper calendar that, that's where I put everything. So, if I see something that's due that day, I'm going to, I'm going to get it done. And I have several things due today. I think I'm on top of it today, actually.
Speaker 2 (04:40):
And you made time for a podcast, so thank you.
Speaker 1 (04:45):
Yes, very busy life. And uh, we love, um, every minute of it because we're, we're doing what we, what we desire.
Speaker 2 (04:53):
Um, yeah. So then, just to kind of paint that picture, um, you and your family lived here in Salmon Arm, BC. You have a studio and a cafe called the Night Cafe, right on one of the busiest streets in Salmon Arm. And tell us about that. Tell us a little bit about your studio in your cafe.
Speaker 1 (05:14):
Uh, you know, it's a lot of people's dreams to have a cafe because it's romantic. And when you couple that with, with art and the community, it, you can't help but fall in love with at least the idea. Um, and we we've battled with, uh, with ourselves on what we were, what we were going to do, what, what we were going to call it. And so to go back a little bit, we always had this dream of opening a cafe. Never an art studio, I always painted, but it was, it was, it kind of took second to, to our dream, that'd be my wife and I. so, we always talked about the cafe, planned about it. We go to every cafe we can just to see what other people are doing. Because people are amazing, and they will come up with great ideas that, that can be, I guess, brought to other communities.
Speaker 1 (06:20):
So, when we moved to Salmon Arm, we accidentally opened a studio instead, and we we've done that for almost five and a half years, I guess. Um, we opened a studio and we, at first, it was just a space for me to be creative because there wasn't enough space at home. And then after signing a lease, and enjoying what I was doing, and not wanting to go find a normal job -- a working for the man kind of thing -- we decided to make it viable and start teaching what I know to anyone that wanted to join. So, we started with kids, of course, because that's an easy safe -- they're excited about anything they do. And then I started to share how, how I paint. Um, at first I was awfully, awfully nervous because I am not formally trained as a painter, formerly trained as other things, but not painting. But it seemed like people got my, my logical approach and my lack of fear doing that. And, um, it's grown from there. We noticed that every weekend we were, we were recycling a lot. We would take out, um, beverage bottles and take out boxes that people would bring here when they're celebrating. So, we decided to open, uh, the Night Cafe, and kind of do a one-stop shop kind of deal, where they can enjoy food and beverage and, and an art artsy kind of vibe, and be creative if that's the way they want to do or just be increase creativity if they haven't discovered it yet.
Speaker 2 (08:21):
Yes. So, your studio and the Night Cafe are, in my opinion, two of the most beautiful, dreamy places that you can go to in Salmon Arm. Your art is on the left-hand side of the building, and is stunning,creative. I want you to describe a little bit more how you would describe your work. But on the right hand side is this Night Cafe with an eclectic, I'd say a little bit of a, you know, corner of Italy feeling. I was even in there one evening when an accordion player was making some tunes in the corner. So Adam, how do you describe your art?
Speaker 1 (09:10):
Yeah. I do what I want.
Speaker 2 (09:10):
I love that.
Speaker 1 (09:12):
Uh, sometimes it gets me in trouble. What I truly think about my style versus the art world and not that that's the way it is, but to kind of compare or to kind of put words to it -- I believe that the artists before us have have freed, the, the modern artists from a lot of constraints. Um, I think anything goes nowadays. And I think that we don't have to be so, so serious, and so concerned about following the rules, because art is one of those freeing things that we don't have to stand in line. We don't have to conform. So I, I do whatever it takes to build a visual piece of art that I appreciate. And when I appreciate it, then I feel good about passing it on to the client or hanging it on the wall. Saying that I, I often run out of painting. So, I hang unfinished stuff just to, just to get a little bit of criticism and see what, see what people like and don't like. But I use bold, bright colors and texture. Not only, not only sharp, harsh, fixed textures, sometimes the painting calls for -- phone's ringing --
Speaker 2 (10:49):
Adam has an old fashioned telephone.
Speaker 1 (10:53):
Some, sometimes a painting, I think, desires a softer, smoother texture. So, I like to use the 3D realm in that 2D format so that I can get a feel right off the bat with, without them looking into the painting too much. Bold colors, um, using color theory, using, um, even popular colors. Sometimes I will paint something so gray that it just flies off the wall before I can even price it because it goes with a modern decor. And I know that, and I, it may be a sneaky, but I can break away from my color palette and do something a little more modern and still work within my style if I stick to, to obscuring, but, but not, um, not eliminating form or shape or something real to the attached.
Speaker 2 (11:59):
Yes, I do love that about your work. I feel that you, you push into an abstract realm, but still keep the subject matter, um, recognizable. And I really appreciate that. And you have a use of very bold, bright colors and textures that almost makes it feel accidental. But I know better. I know that it's not, it's not accidental. It's very,
Speaker 1 (12:25):
It's, it's on purpose, but, but sometimes it's accidental. Sometimes you're just not paying attention, and you grab the wrong color and it actually, it actually changed the painting. But no, I try not to be accidental.
Speaker 2 (12:44):
No, I see it as very intentional, but it has that, that loose, free quality that feels like it just kinda came out. And I appreciate that about your work. Did you have a moment, Adam, where you, you knew that you were going to turn to your art to make a living, or did it just happen gradually and you got comfortable with it?
Speaker 1 (13:07):
It was just a bold move. When we moved here, I, I tried to get involved in, in the arts and for how many artists and artistic people, or even people that appreciate, you know, arts and culture is so big here with not enough support, kind of knew that this would be a community that it might, it might fly. And it turns out that Salmon Arm embraced us. Uh, like it might not have worked anywhere else.
Speaker 2 (13:43):
Right? Yeah, community is a big part of it. And, uh, it's one of the things that we're talking about -- being bold in our communities -- and how the community also supports us and gives us confidence to be bold. And would you find that in your experience of being in this community?
Speaker 1 (14:00):
Yeah, absolutely. For, people like to be involved, to be a part of something. And when you come into a place and you do as good as you can, people notice. We have this, I don't know our secret selves, so to speak, is if you work hard and you're nice to everyone, chances are you'll fit in.
Speaker 2 (14:32):
Fit in and succeed.
Speaker 1 (14:32):
Yep, there's the secret sauce. Work Hard and be nice to everyone.
Speaker 2 (14:35):
And do you know what Adam, you, you do work hard, and you are nice to everyone. I've been in your studio and your cafe, and you, you look everyone in the eye, and make everyone feel special, and you make everyone feel like they can be an artist, too. And at one point you had told me that you have no secrets, which I think is amazing. And what does it take for you as an artist to be that kind of artist who has no secrets,
Speaker 1 (15:03):
Uh, it's vulnerability, for sure. Like, um, to have an unfinished piece of our work on the floor at home is one thing. But for it to be in public or hanging on the wall, you get some scrutiny when you don't have secrets, yeah.
Speaker 2 (15:21):
So, when you go to start a piece, Adam, do you have a real strategy in mind. Or do you let a piece take a life of its own and sort of speak to you and bring itself into existence? How do you approach it? And in that question, I want to ask a double question of how you approach color in that piece, too.
Speaker 1 (15:41):
So it depends like, to answer the, the approach, it depends on the situation. Um, if, if the client says that I have, I have six months or something, um, I'm gonna approach it real slow and really think about how I'm going to do it, or the exact point of view of the viewer, where are they going to be like, really thinking about it. Whereas if I'm in a different situation, I just did one on, on the weekend, just the, uh, uh, live commission for the client and their friends and family watching, right? When I approach that one? It's not so careful. It's, it's like back to basics. I am going to get shape, and form, and put everything in place, and I'm not going to plan, or draw, or anything. I'm going to attack it with my favorite colors and let them influence me from there.
Speaker 1 (16:47):
But what they're saying, and even the reaction, if I put something bold on there, or that might've been the wrong choice. So the two approaches, um, they work the same, but one is really quick on the fly. And the other is really methodical. And I have, I have time to think of the end result. Man, sometimes those quick ones are better than anything I could've thought because you're, you're dealing with instinct. You're dealing with fight or flight. You're dealing with your ego. You do not want to look bad. And, it couldn't stop that, that, uh, that way of painting altogether, because you have all these people watching. And if it doesn't turn out, then it's, it's not going to catch on.
Speaker 2 (17:46):
Yes. And I think you're describing the times you speed paint, and you paint in public. And, um, what you were speaking about the live commission, uh, you've described to me before that people come to your cafe and sit, um, dining, have a dining experience and watch you paint their commission right in front. Which is such a bold move, Adam. Yeah. We're talking about bold, bold color, bold moves here. And that is such a bold move to paint live right in front of the person paying you for the commission. Can you just tell me a little bit about that and what it takes to be that bold?
Speaker 1 (18:27):
Um, you have to have confidence and hope. Confidence that, um, that, that is unwavering. Even if it's fake, just, just being confident. So the client is enjoying themselves, and they fall in love with it as they, they see it happen. And hope that, that your brain is working right that day, that you're in a good place to put down paint in a, in a pleasing way, instead of maybe a way that would be dark or stormy. Yeah, it takes confidence and hope. And then, like, when you, when you paint every day, when you do anything every day, you get better and better, better. If you brush your teeth always with your right hand, and then you try your left hand, it's not going to work the same. So, this is the same as painting. If you never use that hand, or you use that hand only for writing, or only for doodling down notes, you're not going to have that muscle memory, that remember how to, to leave texture or, or dig up some, some brightness or muscle memory painting every day. Get that confidence to pull it off somehow.
Speaker 2 (19:54):
Yeah, the practice, the practice practice. And, um, and I guess that goes to say that we can practice confidence, as well. So what you said, even if you don't feel it, just fake it, and be it, and practice it. And eventually, eventually you have breakthroughs in the levels of confidence, and it becomes more natural. And, um, yeah, that's a good thing for anyone in the arts to remembe --, to just keep practicing until the confidence breaks through.
Speaker 1 (20:26):
Absolutely. There's so many different styles of painting with within so many different mediums. There is room for expression and appreciation no matter, no matter the way it's put down or... Because we are, we're all gonna paint a little bit different because we're all at different, different hands. So, I think there's lots of room for people to gain confidence and know that their expressions are worth it.
Speaker 2 (21:00):
So, Adam, how do you approach color? You use such bold colors, I'm even thinking right now of a piece that you have with a ram. Um, your, your big ram -- and in some ways there's a lot of neutral colors. How do you approach that? Do you plan it? Do you, um, really stick to the color wheel and your theory?
Speaker 1 (21:22):
Yep. Yep, absolutely. I, I have a certain, certain pigment, certain paint that I, that I buy, and I've always bought. It's just ten colors, including black and white. Um, I have favorite colors that I like to use in certain places, whether it's to, to create contrast or, or create something warm or cool. And I feel like in, in those deep, dark colors, within, within shadow, you can use just about any color in its pure, richest form to, to gain a little extra depth or, or a little extra richness within, within something that can be so bland. Our shadows and our light -- you can really manipulate just by warming them up or cooling them down. So yeah, using color theory is a major. If I'm, if I'm mixing some odd color that I just love, and it's not going the way I want it to go, I'm definitely going to go back to the fundamentals and go to the color wheel and change it appropriately with that.
Speaker 1 (22:44):
Uh, and yeah, I, I really liked doing what I want. So, if I break the rules a little bit, and put a color that doesn't belong somewhere, but I like it, then I'm going to spread that around a bit. I, I really love color. And I really love the fact that you can so easily change a mood just with, with how much, how much white you put, how much brightness, how much, um, richness within, within the purest shadows of, of a painting. It's, uh, it's, it's wonderful. And anyone that uses a pencil knows what they're missing.
Speaker 2 (23:34):
So would you say for someone who's starting out as a painter, that they should put a pretty heavy priority on learning color theory?
Speaker 1 (23:45):
Yeah. Absolutely. It is the biggest thing that I, that I teach, um, novice and even skilled, skilled painters is, is color theory. And it all comes rushing back like they're riding a bike, but it never probably sunk in because we have, we have all these colors we like, and they usually work for us, but when they don't work, that's when we have to go back and see what we're doing, not wrong, but see what we're, what we can do to make it easier. Color theory is, it's huge. Composition is gonna, gonna find its way in whether you want it or not, because you're gonna move things. If it doesn't look right, you're gonna lay things out in a pleasing fashion. But if, if we are using even the most simplest, um, realistic colors within those individual colors, there's so much color within it that we're allowed to exaggerate.
Speaker 1 (24:52):
And it using that color theory is a real safe way to exaggerate. Like if you're doing a shadow in pink, we could, we could darken that shadow with something as wild as black, brown, or blue. Or what if we use color theory, and we actually use a nice, rich green. It's a safe way to bring it back or forward. And yeah. So, it's back to the basics of color theory. That's where those, those pioneers in the arts just made it so much easier for us. Like when I'm painting, I'm trying to do everything in one brush stroke. I'm trying to create that portrait and as least brush or at least amount of brush strokes possible. So that I saw that my, my approach is bold, for lack of a better term. I guess that's the best term. So the, my approach is bold, and people can see what I've done with that brush and by not, not having things perfect. It obscures it a bit, so that the imagination looks at it as perfect.
Speaker 2 (26:11):
That's good. Yeah. That's good. So, though your work has many layers. Like you, you can look through the layers and see that you've applied many different codes and, and, but yet you're taking the approach that you want to do it in as least amount of brushstrokes as possible. So, I love that.
Speaker 1 (26:33):
Yeah. It looks like it maybe took months, but, but it was probably just a few sittings, yeah. Doing it on painting on purpose.
Speaker 2 (26:46):
And what does painting on purpose mean to you? Unpack that one a little for me. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (26:50):
So that's, that's kind of that, uh, I got no secrets, so that's my secret for, for those live paintings or those those times where I have to pull it off for hours, or I broke, broke a promise. I'm I'm using every brush stroke on purpose so that I don't have to go back unless I don't like it. The goal is to be, to be so confident, so sure of the shape and form that you're creating, that you can lay it down just once. It doesn't have to torture you. You don't have to scrub and scratch. You can, if that's the effect you're looking for, but you can do that on purpose really quick and move on to the next spot. I know it's not all about being quick, but it sure, sure helps me to stay loose, and be free, and enjoy what I'm doing.
Speaker 2 (27:48):
Yes. Um, yeah. Talk about staying loose for a minute because you know, that's one of the things we're admiring about your work is not only the bold colors and the boldness of you as, as an artist, and your personality, and character. But also, uh, the boldness of being loose. It actually is very bold and brave to be loose. And would you agree with that? And what does that mean to you?
Speaker 1 (28:17):
It is kind of brave because it could look like a mess if you're not doing it on purpose. If you're being loose, but you have no direction, then it could look chaotic. It could not maybe make sense. And there, there's room for that. There's lots of static or places that aren't a focus that you can be a little bit sloppy or messy on purpose and get away with it. That's one of those things that I have to tell myself every time I'm painting is, uh, okay. Step back, be, be a little bit looser, hold your paint brush at the end, instead of choking right up like going for a home run, stressing out. And, grab a brush that's bigger than what. you're comfortable with so that you get more practice with a bigger brush, trying to do smaller things. I will possibly put my little brushes away and grab the bigger brush and kind of... Like, if I sit and paint, I get a little bit tight, as well. So I will stand up and kind of joust with the canvas a bit. Stepping back and going forward, just to make sure that I'm on the right track.
Speaker 1 (29:43):
And then I'm staying loose and kind of moving about a bit.
Speaker 2 (29:47):
Yeah. Excellent tips for staying loose in the paintings. And, um, and so we did talk about color and color theory. Would you have anything specifically to encourage, how to encourage an artist in using bold color and stepping out into a brave new realm? I hear it from artists a lot that, that they want to be braver and bolder, especially in their use of color. What would you say to that on who's looking to step out of their comfort zone and...
Speaker 1 (30:24):
Uh, there's, there's a real neat way to look at that. To say, say, you're you, you've got a photo that you took and you, it means a lot to you and you really want to express yourself at the same time. So, that it's totally you. Well, if that image is in black and white, and you disregard stereotypes, like the sky is blue, trees are green. You can grab a couple of your colors and some white, maybe some black, if you're into that. A lot of painters don't use black. Or you can use a dark color, your pure color for your, for your darks, and just grab a couple of colors and white and your black and white photo, and try to achieve it with the limited palette. And when you're done that painting with a limited palette and you put colors where they don't belong, but it makes sense because it's monochromatic, you're using values to get shape and form.
Speaker 1 (31:31):
What if, what if you, Andy Warhol that, and you made a, a green one a pink one, a blue and a purple one. They would all work on their own. So, they can probably all work together. If you put those bold colors by themselves or together, I think they would work out. So, really forgetting the stereotypical colors. If you need to use blue in the sky to make it look like a sky or to get contrast between mountains or something, then yeah, absolutely, do it. But it's okay to color where you, where you wouldn't expect it. And that's a good way to show people that your, your bold.
Speaker 2 (32:18):
Wow. I love that. I love that. Um, yeah. So just, I think what you just told us, there was an exercise that we can all do to sort of break out of that stereotypical using a photograph. And I'm actually gonna try that. Yeah. So, do you consider yourself a bold person by nature, Adam, you're bold in your artwork, you've made bold moves with your studio and your cafe are, do you consider yourself bold?
Speaker 1 (32:47):
I suppose, I suppose I am bold, maybe brave or, or dumb. No, absolutely. I am. I'm bold because I'm, I may, I may have fears in my life. And one of those things is, is, I don't know, not being, not being very good at something, not being good at interviews or, or public speaking or something like that. It's just, I don't like being less than. So, in order to do that, I have to take chances and be bold. I'll tell you a little story about a five-year-old Adam was so shy that if an adult looked at me I'd almost I'd well up, I'd almost start crying. And I've always been shy, still shy, but I did something on my, on my wedding to kind of break out that, of that fear. So, I got front of friends and family, a couple hundred people, and I sang a song that I wrote. And I've been singing ever since. But I broke that. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. And, uh, now I public speak it. And now I'm on different meetings where, where I have to stand up and say my opinion, and then run a business. Like there's, there's things that I couldn't have done without pushing myself without being bold.
Speaker 2 (34:25):
So, if you weren't bold by nature, like as a child. And it's like, you have taught yourself and forced yourself into braver and braver positions to where now you are speed painting in front of commission clients and, you know, public speaking, being on boards, a leader in your community in the arts, teaching. And so it really just goes to show that anyone can be bold.
Speaker 1 (34:54):
Yeah, absolutely. It's a, it's a chance. It's a choice. And it really pays off in, in a way, not necessarily for gain, but, but for joy for, for knowing that you could do something. You can do someting great, too -- or something exciting or bold.
Speaker 2 (35:16):
Are there any other thoughts on your mind, Adam, that, that you would like to encourage other artists? Whether it be about bold color, or making bold, brave, brave moves as an artist? Is there any other thoughts you have?
Speaker 1 (35:30):
Yeah. Yeah. Um, every once in a while, I'll do a painting for yourself instead of the masses. Instead of trying to, trying to impress someone or, or the whole world, just do a painting for yourself. Do something that you want to do, and you would hang on your wall, and you could be proud of. You will come out with something way better than, than trying to impress.
Speaker 2 (36:05):
That's very good advice.
Speaker 1 (36:06):
Painting for yourself, you leave a little bit in that painting, which gives your body of work a certain amount of consistency, too. It's a good thing.
Speaker 2 (36:18):
That's a really good point. I never thought of it that way. That's great. Yeah. So thank you so much for taking the time to share your secrets, your secret sauce, a little bit about your color theory, and your bold moves. Um, really appreciate having on the show.
Speaker 1 (36:37):
Thank you. I appreciate it.