Originally from the Midwest, artist Adam Thiele has since transitioned to the NoHo Arts District area in Los Angeles. Prolifically a Plein Air painter, Thiele has a vision for a new ‘revival’ of sorts for the painting method. Despite little access to art methods or equipment growing up, Thiele has been encouraged by his raw talent and some early wins within his artistic career.
The North Hollywood Arts District had the pleasure of ‘sitting’ down with oil painter Adam Thiele. Below is the Q&A which followed:
Q: How long have you been an artist? What has been your professional trajectory/arc?
A: I have been an artist my entire life, but I didn’t discover my talent until I picked up my first paintbrush when was 18. Being raised in a no-stoplight rural farming and manufacturing community in Western, IL where there wasn’t much of an art scene. In fact, we only had 1 art class offered in high school which consisted of drawing and watercolor painting. I wasn’t very interested in the class because my older brother was already known for being the best artist and illustrator in the area. My teacher sensed my hesitancy and tried something different by setting up an easel and showing me how to use oil paints. It completely changed my life. I fell in love with the fluidity and richness of the medium and quickly knocked out a few paintings and some charcoal drawings to submit for a college portfolio. To my surprise, I earned an art scholarship and sold my entire portfolio to the college president! Since then, I have spent the last 24 years painting commissioned work and I found my true passion to be landscape painting.
Q: How has your practice changed over time?
A: I am a self-taught artist, so my learning and techniques have been more unconventional and at my own leisure. Early on, by trying to imitate the styles of influential artists. I had a Van Gogh phase where my painting was very loose, which transitioned to the Manet phase where my paintings were tighter and everything in between. In doing so, I honed my skills but only recently have began developing my own style. After spending time near Miami and changing my color palette from the drab Midwest to more vibrant pastel seascapes, I have now been using brighter colors in my landscapes in combination with faster painting sessions to find my own voice on canvas.
Q: What media do you use to create your art? What process do you use to create your art?
A: I only paint with oils and from photographs that I take myself. I have worked as a videographer for 20-plus years filming in hundreds of locations in numerous states and always take pictures when I see a picturesque scene that I think may transfer nicely on to the canvas.
Q: What is your inspiration? Who has been an inspiration to you personally and professionally?
A: I don’t know if it is inspiration but more of an obsession driven from somewhere within, that trumps nearly everything in my life. Not unlike a priest’s calling to the church, once I discovered my ability as a painter I have an unspoken duty to myself to try and capture everything that moves me as soon as possible so not to lose that feeling and emotion to share that moment with others.
I am mainly inspired by masters of all forms of artwork. People who have mastered and excel at their chosen craft whether it be musicians, filmmakers or interior designers, all impress me.
Q: What message do you hope your audience imparts from your work?
A: I hope anyone who views my artwork can connect with it on some level in a positive way. They can enjoy the view and transport themselves to the location I am depicting and enjoy the vibe and style in which it is being depicted.
Q: What is life like, as an artist?
A: I found that life as an artist is extremely challenging because it isn’t valued and respected as a profession by the masses in America. It is difficult to make a living as a professional artist. I have chosen a creative field as a day job to support my career as an artist.
Q: What has been an artistic challenge you have faced and how did you overcome this?
A: To increase my profits it is recommended to find a niche and only paint that subject. Be the ‘dog’ painter guy, or the ‘lighthouse’ painter guy. I am not in it for the money. I paint what inspires me regardless of the monetary value.
Q: What project or piece of work have you been most proud of to date?
A: I was 22 and I was just starting to get serious about painting, I entered a regional art show and won first place. It was with a landscape of a cowboy on a ranch in Colorado. This surprised my parents and assured them that I was on the right path. Beyond that piece, I love all the paintings I produce equally. They are all a part of me and come from a personal experience of mine.
Q: What is your dream project?
A: My dream project is to host a landscape painting TV show where I can take viewers with me across America and show my process of painting on location in ‘plein air’ from start to finish. Like Bob Ross meets Anthony Bourdain.
*All photo credits go to Adam Thiele, and are owned exclusively by Adam Thiele.
NoHo Arts District | Los Angeles