Success for an artist is all about getting your name out there, whether it’s by commissioning large art pieces or showing your art anywhere you can.
“I am always taking on shows to keep myself constantly painting,”
said Adam Bota, local painter and Eastern Michigan University graduate. “I need to keep showing new work and getting myself out there.”
By working with Pop Up A2, an organization that creates “pop up” art exhibits at local restaurants and businesses, Bota has been able to show his work in a variety of spaces. His most recent piece, featuring the late Ann Arbor street performer Shakey Jake, is currently being shown in the lobby of the Performance Network Theatre, at 120 E. Huron St. in downtown Ann Arbor.
Bota, whose colorful style takes influence from 19th century impressionist artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Henri Matisse, also has work being displayed at Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids, Mich.
“I want to get my name out there in the Grand Rapids area,” he said.
This is because he, like many other artists, has his sights set on Art Prize, an open art contest competition that spans throughout the downtown Grand Rapids area.
Just three years old, Art Prize boasts itself as the largest art competition in the world. This year, the competition will run from Sept. 18 to Oct. 6, and any artist over the age of 18 can enter and any space in the designated area can be considered a venue.
Throughout the competition, the public votes on their favorite pieces and installations. The top award winner gets $200,000. Other awards are given out during the competition as well, but the best prize of all is maximum exposure: More than 200,000 people visited Art Prize during its first year.
“I’m trying to organize an interactive piece for Art Prize in the fall,” Bota said.
But had difficulty explaining exactly what he had in mind for the piece.
“There’s a lot to it and we need to figure out the best use of space and a way to pull it off. I’ve got some really cool people working with me on the project,” Bota said.
Though he now strives to do as many shows as he can, Bota didn’t always put his effort into publicly displaying his work. Initially, he painted a lot of portraits.
“But people would mostly just send me pictures, and I felt like I was losing a lot of my creativity in the process by doing portraits,” he said.
Another issue Bota had with primarily painting portraits was the money.
“I price my pieces based on the amount of time I put into them,” he said. “People don’t want to pay a ton of money for a portrait, even though they might take just as long as a piece I would price for a lot higher.”
Now, he focuses on commissioned work that gives him more creative freedom.
“I will normally go into someone’s house and measure the space and paint based on their taste and colors,” he said. “I have yet to have anyone be disappointed.”
It has mostly been within the past two years that Bota has really been motivated to show his work.
“My then-girlfriend had a great website made for me, and told me that I should be more committed to my work,” he said. “And now I try to do shows all the time.”
Bota spends his nights working at the Grange Kitchen & Bar in Ann Arbor, and his days working in his new studio.
“I just try to do a little bit every day,” he said. “I don’t overwhelm myself.”
Bota’s advice for other artists and students is to “do some visioning. Try to vision yourself one year, five years, 10 years and even 25 years in the future. Create a path to where you want to go and make the steps to get towards your goals.”
He also said it’s important to stay true to your heart and passions and work in your own style.
“I don’t try to paint for anybody,” he said. “I just try to express emotion through color and painting, and do what I really want to do.”
Bota’s goals for the future include showing his work in Art Prize and eventually showing in bigger cities.
“I want to get my name out in the larger cities like Chicago, New Orleans, New York and Los Angeles,” he said.
For now, Bota continues to show his work throughout the local area. He has pieces scheduled to be displayed at Woodruff’s, in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town, and Babs’ Underground Lounge in Ann Arbor within the next couple of months.
Bota clearly loves what he does.
“I just paint to paint,” he said. “I’m driven without effort.”
You can view some of Adam Bota’s artwork at www.adambotaart.com.
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