Five Questions for LINDA ADATO

Artspan sits down with Brooklyn-based printmaker Linda Adato.


I love the lines and angles of your work, which are distinctive of urban art, but I love the sort of warm glow that suffuses it as well, that gives it life. The light and shadows are so evocative of a time of day or a time of year that your images almost feel like a memory of an actual time and place. To me your images are somewhat wistful and mysterious, suggesting a million stories glimpsed through windows and around corners. What mood do you hope to evoke with your work? How do you capture the color and slant of light at various times of day. Do you work from memory or photographs or sketches?

I often start an image from a photograph that I have taken, but also work directly from sketches from my immediate surroundings. I begin, of course, with the composition and ideas come to mind in the development of the image. The light and colors are no less important and involve much trial and error to achieve the right relationships between that and the geometry of the composition. I don’t intend any mood you speak of, which may nevertheless result from the aesthetics I try to achieve.

The Meeting

I notice that you’re a member of many arts societies and organizations. Can you describe how your involvement in these helps you to create a community or promote your work?

Belonging to these organisations has opened many doors for exhibitions and establishing friendships with other artists.
I am currently a member of the council of SAGA (The Society of American Graphic Artists) and was president from 2007-2010. Among many duties as president, I arranged a show in Australia for its members, which was a challenging and gratifying experience.

Between Seasons

Printmaking is time-consuming and requires more space and equipment than many other techniques. Where do you work? Do you have a studio in your home with everything that you need? How do you work? Do you set aside a certain time of day? Do you listen to music?

I try to work everyday, mornings are best. I have a studio in my home in Brooklyn with all the equipment I need, replete with etching press, aquatint box and tables for inking plates. I do the acid work in a ventilated shower stall. The studio looks out to my garden and its surrounding buildings and empty lots from which images have emerged and perhaps more will. I take delight in my garden and enjoy the neighborhood cats who visit. I listen to my local NPR station WNYC and later in the day may switch to the classical music station.

I’ve decided that everyone gets a question from the Proust Questionnaire, and here is yours: What is your favorite virtue?

Favorite virtue: Being true to oneself.

Missing the Train

I like the small touches that suggest a human presence in a mass of brick and glass–the fragment of graffiti, or a cluster of shadowed figures. Once again, it hints at untold stories, and it evokes that strange uniquely-urban loneliness. How do you think about the people or the suggestion of human life in your work?

My etchings are scenes that humans do inhabit, so their presence should be sensed even though their figures often do not appear. I love the city and all that it brings. I’m not truly aware of evoking an urban loneliness or mystery, but yet understand how that can be sensed in the image. After all, for the greater part, it’s from the unconscious.

Brooklyn Facades

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