The Art of Adam Mulcahy
Post industrial wastelands and the smell of welding fumes..the art of ADAM MULCAHY
Article: Scott Fisk/ Studio 669
As with any artist there is a pile of “mediums” to choose from when we create. Whether it’s paint, a tattoo machine or even a pencil; there is a “comfort zone” that we call home and establish it as our own. However one artist in particular chooses none of the above and uses a wire feed and welding mask. With his “weapons” he grabs various pieces of post industrial waste like old nuts, bolts, expanded metal, even old phones…stuff you’d toss in the bin…you name it, he turns it into a 3 dimensional “vision” for lack of a better word. Adam Mulcahy of Holyoke, Mass. never wanted to be “normal”, as with most artists’ he wanted to break a fresh path seldom taken. For this direction taken he has become highly recognized in the north east as an incredible sculptor.
There is a `46 Willy’s Jeep that sits outside a crowded work shop, where smoke and fumes drizzle from out of the beaten and weathered door. Birds drop out of the sky from the toxins in the air as they fly by.. inside the mad scientist blows a haze glow well into the night. Pieces of “material” from the stock pile are chosen at random…actually they aren’t chosen at random…rather they are laid out skillfully. Every object that is to be implemented into the finished piece has many sides, many angles where you can’t simply place it “anywhere.” There is a concrete direction to where this is going…borderline “visionary” kinda’ stuff where it all just seems to come together with fluidity.
Grabbing a respirator that was hanging from a rusty nail, I put it on and found a milk crate in a cool dimly lit corner of Adam’s shop to sit a spell and take it all in. There has to be an inspiration to all of this, a reason he does what he does…my gears were instantly turning, so if your curiosity gets to you like it does to me….then read on cuz I had a handful of questions~
.. Dimly lit corners
As you sit there confusion sets in, randomly I’d watch him hold a part up to the light…spinning it….digging it….heavy ponder and then a slight smile would grow on his mug. “What the hell inspires you, how did you know that was the piece you were looking for?!” I ask like the pain in the ass kid that you hated in gym class because he needed directions on how to do jumping~jacks….where’s that kid now?...he ain’t here. “First off, that’s a 2 part question…what are you, that kid from gym class?!” Adam muddled..”I’ll tell you what inspires me. First off I fell into this without even knowing. I grew up reading all of my Dad’s hot rod magazines and drawing rat fink on all my notebooks at school. Skateboarding was a huge influence, the art, the movement and danger. It all just seemed to fit into what I do now; it just makes us who we are.” (Still having only part of my 2 part question answered I squeaked out the word “AND?”) with a sigh he continued..”I’m pretty much self taught, I tried school but honestly I couldn’t sit still for any period of time unless I was making something. The lessons I learned at the school of hard knocks always seemed to last longer anyways. The things I see, how I’m feeling..HELL, even if I see someone who did something different on a car or bike that I haven’t seen before..well to me that’s “INSPIRATION”….better then a trip to the museum. As for “knowing what piece I was looking for” when I am putting something together, well that comes over time. We progress, we learn, we evolve.”
As time was being spent in the shop you couldn’t help but notice all that there was to choose from. There were various piles of salvaged metals in the shop with no rhyme or reason for their placement. I felt another question coming on. “What’s with all the stuff lying around” I muttered. “Stuff, it isn’t stuff..some of these parts are older then me and have a sense of history about them. Sometimes I get to use someone’s great grandfather’s wrenches or a fender from someone’s first bike. It’s really cool to actually know some of that history. If those pieces could talk they would have quite the story to tell, I try to tell that story with my art..not just what it looks like visually; BUT what it’s actually made of when you really study it. The music really helps out the process too, really enjoy a lot of older punk, 50’s rock and roll…you know, the kind of stuff that gets you speeding tickets.”…he laughed…”SO the pieces, the history and the music all melt into one…is that right?”…”sure, something like that.”
Well it was all starting to come together.
5-10 with no parole…
With all this madness about there was also a sense of calm like this “CAT” had already walked down several side streets and knew which garbage cans to knock over and which ones to leave alone. There is no such thing as a free ride, no ticket to the sure thing. When you stand on the edge of that cliff and watch the stones fall from beneath your feet, that if when the dust settles and you’re still there?….well then it was meant to be. It takes major courage to do what we love and “luck” has nothing to do with it. Follow your path, knock over the cans that are right and stay true to yourself. He was proud of what he was doing and passionate when he held the part up to the light for inspection. It all seemed to be a journey I reckon.
“The people I have met through my artwork have been amazing. Trading work with other artist’s that I have looked up to for years. Bartering artwork for access to junkyards, it’s always something different. Random piles of parts that “mysteriously” get dropped off in the driveway at home. When people do stuff like that, it’s like them saying that they know who I am and know what I do..that I will take those parts and show them respect by making something amazing out of them. I figure in 5 to 10 years, SHIT 30 years even! I will still be doing what I do. I’ll be a bit heavier, maybe less hair, traveling to shows in the north east…definitely a lot more tattoos. I never want to be paroled from this..this is what I am and what I want to do…forever. I’m just gonna keep doing what I do and let it lead me where it leads me. Out west, down south…really couldn’t tell ya.”
Stayed late into the night watching the latest creation evolve, periodically going out doors for some air and to see if any more birds dropped out of the sky from the previous time. “Yup, there were 4 out here before, now there are 7.” Burning the wire feed late into the night seemed to be the normal fashion for this fine sculptor. “If you really dig what you do, you’ll feel like you never worked a day in your life.”
To have your very own Adam Mulcahy artwork (like I do..yee~haw), or to simply per~ooze his stuff you can hit him up on myspace.com/jeeppunk49 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Renegade Magazine