Briefly describe the work you do.
I work primarily in printmaking and drawing, focusing on intaglio and lithography. I have an interest in forms found in biology and draw inspiration from these images. My work explores the psychological aspect of stress, anxiety, and isolation. It is also an examination in aesthetics; I want to create a tension between what is attractive and what is grotesque.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
I have always been interested in science and art, I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, and I studied neuroscience and studio arts at the University of Pittsburgh. I have always felt a tension between these two interests: each one vying for my attention. Eventually, I pursued a Master in Fine Arts specializing in printmaking from Northern Illinois University. I see printmaking as the perfect marriage of art and science. So many techniques, such as etching and lithography, involve the use of chemical reactions to transfer an image onto the matrix.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
The medium of printmaking has historically been a communal one with many printmakers and artists working collaboratively in a studio. I find that I split my time between working alone in a traditional sense, and working in the print studio, with fellow artists. I get a lot of drawing done alone in the studio with a nature documentary or show in the background, but I finish up my work in the print shop with other people around (I like the convenience of having a second opinion when I want it.) Most of my idea generation occurs away from my drawing desk, through walks in nature, long drives, airplane rides, etc. I am fascinated by texture and I’m constantly searching for new and unique ones.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
The businessman and marketer. I’ve never been one to promote myself and talk myself up.
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
I try to do something every day, a little doodle to a large-scale drawing, but it’s a little hard when inspiration is thin. I like to work mainly at night, when distractions on the Internet and TV are very minimal. I prefer to find long stretches of time where I can work on a project – I gain momentum after about two or three hours of work. If I’m not making work, I’m thinking about making it.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
My early work was full of color and light-hearted. Over my years of graduate school, the color has muted to subtle tones and become a serious study. The only constant is that a majority of my time is spent on drawing.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
My family has always been hugely supportive of everything I do. I have several family members in the medical field, which first sparked my interest in medical imagery. Max Brödel, the medical illustrator, and the paintings Zdzisław Beksiński have long been an underlying influence in my work. I follow a couple hundred art blogs online, influences that seep into my imagery.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
I would probably be a marine biologist. I love the ocean, especially the diverse and otherworldly life that inhabit it.
Adrian Chin is an artist and printmaker from New Jersey. His work mixes biological images and animals, examining the tension between the beautiful and grotesque. He received his MFA in 2012 from Northern Illinois University, previously graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008 with a BS in Neuroscience. He has shown nationally in Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C.
Adrian is a printmaking assistant at the Printmaking Center of New Jersey. He also teaches printmaking in various community outreach and education programs through the Center.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.