This week’s feature is with my friend, Rebecca Adams! Rebecca and I met our first day at the Rhode Island School of Design. At 6’1, she’s beautiful, totally stylish and an amazing painter!
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
Ciao! My name is Rebecca Adams and I am an artist living in Providence, RI. Im originally from Charlottesville, VA and moved up here to go to RISD, where I studied photography. Now im 27 (I think…) and spend pretty much ALL of my time painting in my studio (my bedroom). My recent work has been large collections of black and white paintings, all inspired by vintage stock photography and portraits. I have a print shop on etsy, did the album art for the last Daughters record, and have an upcoming show in June! I love burlesque, vintage Italian movie posters, and teasing my hair.
How did you meet Kelly:
Kelly and I lived across from each other in the freshman dorms! We both loved 80S NIGHT!!, and I started seeing her again after school when she would come to Providence for craft fairs. When she decided to officially move back, I was excited to really get to hang out with her, and we got into trouble immediately by breaking into a swimming pool late one night…oops!
I’ve been stalking her ever since!
Tell us about the modeling work you did. You modeled for another vintage company, what was that like?:
Working for Thrifted.net was a really great experience! I actually became good friends with Lindsay and her husband Casey. We worked out of their apartment so it was like we just got to hang out every week. And who doesnt want to get their hair done and try on a bunch of crazy vintage clothes?? Seeing someone run their own business definitely turned on a light for me…I love the idea of working out of your own apartment and being in charge of your schedule, building your own business from scratch. I knew is was something I wanted to do in the future with my work. They eventually moved back to California, and I did photo editing for the site for a bit, which I loved! I also write for the Thrifted blog a couple of times a month, and we have all stayed in touch since!
I know a lot of my customers are younger, and probably thinking about art school or what to major in. You majored in photography but now you paint. Can you tell us about majoring in photography and why you’d rather paint now?:
I think even though I don’t really do photography any more, it was still the right major for me in school. All of my work is directly influenced by film and photography, and I constantly collect vintage stock images and film stills. People always commented that my photographs actually looked like paintings, so I guess it was kind of a natural transition for me. Studying the technical side of photography was something I never would have done on my own, as opposed to painting which I never really studied and just kind of started doing. But knowing how to take good photographs of my paintings is invaluable…especially with all the ways to promote yourself online…websites, blogs, etsy, tumblr, etc…it would be a huge setback if I couldn’t take my own images. But most importantly, I just really enjoy painting!
I love how you work on paintings as a series for a collection. Can you tell us why you chose what you do to paint:
Obviously I love vintage fashion and retro aesthetics, and I always have some random collection of images that im working with. Like right now, Ive been hoarding these vintage photographs of twins that i’ve been dying to work with!! I get kind of obsessed with collecting and cataloging all these images, and once I start a specific series I want to see hundreds of paintings. I love seeing them all together on the wall! I also obsessively color code my closet and all my books…I guess its just in my blood. It feels much more natural to me to make lots of smaller, quicker paintings than to focus on just a few larger pieces. My attention span is pretty short…
It seems like you are so hard working and that you spend a lot of time painting, which is admirable! There are a lot of other ‘artists’ who aren’t actually producing as much work as you are. Are you always excited to work or do you ever feel unmotivated or in a creative slump?:
I think everyone gets unmotivated at times, but having deadlines always helps me! Otherwise I just feel unfocused. I am constantly trying to set up shows or projects so one starts as another is ending…that way I never stop working! I only work at my job part time, which leaves a LOT of time during the week to paint. I seriously consider it a second job. I feel like the more work you produce, the more lots of people are likely to see it. It can be really frustrating because I put SO much time and energy and money into my work, and it doesnt always pay of instantly. But when I finally hang a show and see all the work Ive done, its always satisfying knowing I put a lot of effort into it.
When you go to a thrift store, is there anything specific you look for?:
I always go straight for the dresses and shoes first, then the lingerie…I love vintage slips and lacey things. I avoid the whole pants thing…I despise trying on clothes while im shopping. Plus im way too tall and buying pants in general is really a pain in the ass! Thrift shopping is always simple since I pretty much only wear black, and sometimes red…that eliminates a whole lot of clothes that I dont need to tear through! I also always seek out the lamps…I need good mood lighting and I have a huge mirror collection!! I spend A LOT of time in my room, so it has to be visually inspiring!
Anna Karina, Brigitte Bardot
Wine! For sure. Well, maybe champagne.
I have been dying to go back to France since I was 18…Im convinced I was supposed to be French!
Most embarrassing story:
I get yelled at in the streets a lot because I’m really tall (6’1″), like HEY TALLEY!!, or something equally uncreative. And my friend Alley always tells everyone that I’m an actual giant.
Favorite things to do in Providence:
I always end up at the Fez, its definitely my favorite bar because its red with moody lighting. There’s usually a good show going on somewhere, or some delicious pizza to be eaten.
How you would spend a million dollars:
I would buy my own house with a huge studio, since I have been working out of my bedroom for the last 5 years!
What advice would you give your 16 year old self:
I wish I hadn’t been so quiet when I was younger, but I guess I forced myself to outgrow it. I still get really horrid stage fright though, I get really nervous being up in front of people.
If you could go on a shopping spree in any store, which would it be and what would you get?:
Probably Agent Provocateur, they have the BEST lingerie in the world, but its so crazy expensive. And I would get everything.
What you would find in your purse right now:
Business cards, hairspray, sunglasses, plastic harmonica, and most importantly 200 to-do lists.
TOP FIVE SPEEDROUND (pick 5 of these and name your top 5)
It’s REALLY hard for me to pick all time top 5 (music and movies) so this is just a random assortment…Francoise Hardy, Blonde Redhead, Smashing Pumpkins, Spell, Love.
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Martha, Hellraiser (1 & 2), The Piano Teacher, Suspiria.
Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Law and Order SVU, Breaking Bad, Top Chef, and as of last night, EXTREME COUPONING. Wow, that show is mind blowing! And of course, Jersey Shore…
Ellen Gallagher, Marilyn Minter, Cindy Sherman, Alberto Vargas, Ain Cocke.
PIZZA, Nime Chow FOREVER, Fish and Chips from Evelyns, Burgers at Five Guys, Mango and Lobster Sushi.
Check out rebecca on the web: