Interview: Janine Adamo

Interview: Janine Adamo

Name: Janine Adamo

Where do you live: Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA

Known for: Intuitive mixed media paintings with a love for color and texture.

Currently working on:
My voice, my truth and how to express that through my paintings in a way that makes it mine. We all evolve as artists and borrow and play with other artists’ techniques and styles. Which is making me dive deep inside, pulling out what is my truth, my voice and my way of expression. What got me interested in this is that I am going to put together an intuitive painting course called Painting from the Soul. Which is making me really look at what I do, why I do it, why and how I express it and then how to share it.

When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area?
Funny, I have been asked if I teach for many years. People see my work and want to know how I do it and get inspired to try it themselves. I’ve always said no, me a teacher? I can’t even help my 10 year old in math without getting frustrated. Well the more I was asked the more I started playing with the idea. I love talking to people about art, what moves them or myself, how to do a certain technique and the thought of having a group of women, a tribe of sorts, together doing art is very appealing to me. So I started playing with the idea a few months ago. I am now taking a step back and playing with the idea of what moves me, what do I want to share, express and how do I want to grow with potential students of mine. I guess I want to teach more than technique, more than step 1, 2 and 3 and more about connecting with self, more about what moves us all and how to express that through paint.

If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why?
Just 1?? My first thought was on the beach, oh how peaceful that is to me. The sound of the waves crashing in and the slower pace of life is appealing. But not sure I could do that all the time. Then I thought, well wait what about the mountains?? I love hiking and I love driving through the mountains and always thought living in one of those homes that overlooked the mountain would be just amazing. Being engulfed in nature and really experiencing the seasons and wild life. But what really appeals to me at the moment would be somewhere that had an amazing artist community. An area that you can walk places, that embraces the arts and the artists. A place not too far from the mountains or the beach so I can visit when I want.

How would you describe your creativity?
Soulful. When I paint I put myself into each piece. A piece of my soul, my essence is in that painting. I usually don’t know what I am going to paint when I start. The painting brings me on a journey and that journey usually shows me what is going on deep down inside. It’s like a window to my soul.

How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner?
When I was fighting my way out of depression which was about 3-4 years ago. I went to school for graphic design and worked in that field for 19 years now. When I first went into college I was studying illustration, I always wanted a studio and to create but halfway through school I changed my major to graphic design for stability. I figured I would create and paint on the side. Well that didn’t happen.

While I was in one of my lowest lows of depression, for some reason, I picked up a sketchbook, which was from the Sketchbook Project, and started pouring myself into it, showing through art what I was feeling and going through, it was all about Depression. The sketchbook Project ( is when you purchase their sketchbook and pick a theme and fill it up any way you want and turn it in by a deadline date in January. I had gotten one earlier that year thinking I would do it and it just sat.

Well, I started putting all my time and effort into this sketchbook, putting my soul into it. When it was done, I have to say it’s one of the most moving pieces I have ever done. I could not turn it in. So I scanned in each spread and recreated a new sketchbook with my prints and handed that in.

From that moment on I started creating more and more. I got another sketchbook and researched styles and techniques, I couldn’t get enough. I went from sketchbooks to canvas to doing arts festivals. During that time my style changed and morphed from doing small canvases with inspirational quotes on it to large canvases. All the time not planning what I was to create just letting the piece talk to me. As I created more and more I started venturing out to galleries, metaphysical stores, coffee shops and showing my work where ever I can. I continued the arts festivals until a year ago. You see during that awakening, I created a space for myself, I created that studio I always dreamed about. Painting helped me through parts of my depression and then helped me through a divorce I didn’t see coming. It’s been there for me whenever I needed to express myself and let myself go. So now with this awakening, I see that I need art in my life, I need the creativity and the tribe that comes along with it. I’m now trying to figure out, with the course I want to create, how to show other women how to use painting to free their souls the way it did for me.

What do you do at the moment?
I am a single mom of 2 amazing girls who are 8 and 10. I am also a freelance graphic designer. Those are my main jobs at the moment. In my spare time I work on filling my well and soul so I can continue to create.

A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business?
Take baby steps. For most of us it won’t happen overnight. Most artists I come across and talk to have a day job which helps them support themselves and their love for creation. Be patient and keep on putting yourself out there.

Tell us how it all started.
I’ve always been creative, from drawing Garfield over and over again as a child to being in AP Art in HS. One day Savannah College of Art and Design, (SCAD), came to my HS when I was in 10th grade. I knew then that was what I wanted to do, I wanted to go to Art College and be a commercial artist. That is what they called it then. I worked hard, developed a little portfolio and got a scholarship to go to the college. I loved college, drawing and painting all the time. As I mentioned earlier, I originally went in wanting an illustrator degree and ended up changing my major to graphic design mid-way through to have job security. Which I think is funny because most of my graphic design career has been freelance. After SCAD and working about a year I ended up continuing my education in graphic design and went to the Portfolio Center here in Atlanta. I was then engulfed in the design field until my depression made its home in my life and I was left grasping for air.

What is the most important thing in a studio for you?
To me it’s to make sure your space is part of you, which you feel at peace in that space. That when you enter it you immediately feel at home.

What is your favorite film?
I have sat and thought about this question wanting the answer to be some great art film but really one of my favorite movies is Midnight in Paris. What a cool thing, to be able to go back in time and interact with these well-known artists, to experience their personalities and quarks.

Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why?
All of my friends who I hold near and dear to my heart. For they light me up, bring me such happiness and fill me with such love. Now to add to that, I would love to invite all of the amazing people I have met on-line, my creative tribe, the women I have gotten to know and love even though I have not once met them.

How do you like to spoil yourself?
I struggled with this question, there are little things like sleeping in when the girls are with their dad or taking a few minutes and sitting outside in the sun when it’s calling my name on a beautiful day. But I’m not sure that’s spoiling myself, it’s more like enjoying life. I mentioned this question to a close friend and he said “You spoil yourself by spoiling others, it’s in your nature. It makes you feel good to make others feel good and to be happy”. I think he may be onto something.

What is luxury for you?
Getting away, traveling and exploring new lands.

What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom?
I love talking to the people who purchase my work. I love hearing how it moves them or what they see in it or how it makes them feel. Learning how they connect with the piece is always soul filling to me. To see them light up by something I painted, to see them connect to me through paint, it’s the highest compliment.

Also a fun compliment was at arts festivals, what always made me smile was when a parent or guardian would come into my booth with a young child. They would immediately say “don’t touch anything”. Then they would start looking at my work and I see the adult going up to my pieces and touching it. I love texture and putting it into my work whenever I can. You just want to touch it and I love seeing how it makes others have that desire to touch it.

What do you fear most?
Falling back down that rabbit hole of depression.

What is a happy life to you?
Being surrounded by love and laughter. Being connected to spirit and living the life you were meant to live. Not letting fear dictate what you do and how you do it. Being love, giving love and receiving love. Inspiring others, helping others, being a part of something much bigger than yourself.

What does a regular day look like for you?
During the week and school year I get up, life weights, get the kids ready for school, then I do some cardio, usually a spin class. Come home shower and then all bets are off. I have no schedule or regularity to my time between shower and kids getting home from school. Everyday I play it by ear, see what needs to get done or what I am called to do. Things that I do during that time can be working on graphic design work, house chores (ya know fun stuff like laundry) working on my art which can be anything from painting to journaling to thinking about the course to researching places I can show my work, to applying to shows to cleaning my studio, to sketching, looking at other artists work, maybe go on an artist date.

Then there are things like running errands, having lunch at school with my girls or having lunch with friends, checking e-mails and social media. I also try to get 15 min of meditation in there too. The kids get home around 3:30 and it’s the usual, snack, homework, dinner, anything the kids need done will get done. When they are off to bed I may journal or read or putz. I am not a TV watcher but I may put in a movie if I am really beat.

Tell us about your dream project.
A dream of mine is to lead workshops. To travel and have that time to connect with other like-minded people while teaching them tools and techniques that I use in my paintings and daily life. I want to be able to make a difference in other people’s lives, by giving them tools in how to express themselves and to learn how to make time for themselves, how to fill there soul, there well.

Who is your inspiration?
Creatively there are artists that I admire like Alexandra Hunter who does amazing abstract paintings, something I would love to do. I love her colors and textures. Jeanne Bassette, especially her figures and she is also amazing with color. Then there is Flora Bowley, who I have the upmost admiration for. The way she paints, teaches, express herself, pays attention to self and incorporates a healthy daily routine with yoga and meditation. Then there are the many amazing artists who I have become friends with on Facebook, people who live across the world and share that same love for art. Seeing their work posted in my feed inspires me greatly.

Then there are the people in my life who are rocking it. Who have their own businesses, who have been working on their craft for many years, who are involved with so many local organizations to make this area a great place to live on top of their career, who have not given up, who fight their way through no matter what because it’s what they love to do. Those people inspire me the most.

How would you describe your style?
That is one thing I am still working on, to have that style that is unique to me. Intuitive painting is what I call it. When I start a painting I usually never know what the final piece is going to look like. I start off with mark making and go from there with painting many layers. I connect with the piece and have a conversation, feeling my way through, seeing what it needs and wants, and in return it takes me on a journey. The final piece usually represents my life in some way.

Which is the one thing you can’t live without?

What inspires you?
When inspiration decides to whisper in my ear it could be from so many different things. From a really cool color pallet, to texture on a tree, music, a laugh, a child’s way of creating without fear, the way the sunlight hits something, a quote, walking/hiking in nature, nature itself, a waterfall, the waves hitting shore, a sunset, a fire, a pattern on a railing, other peoples art. I could go on and on. Inspiration comes in so many forms and I never know when it will hit.

A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life?
I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic and I will be reading it again. It really connected with me and I feel it would with anyone, even if you don’t consider yourself creative (I believe we all are).

Follow Janine on Instagram @janineadamo
Check out her website & read her blog
Connect with her on Facebook
Send an email to her right here

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