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In the Studio with Lindsay Adams

A visionary painter and a talented wordsmith, Lindsay Adams’s artistic expression knows no bounds, spanning from the canvases she fills to the clothing she wears daily. We were first enraptured by Lindsay’s pieces for her bold, emotional palette and brush stroke, and have since been endlessly inspired by the outspoken advocacy inherent in her every work, which she now produces as a graduate student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Here, Lindsay shares the details behind her artistic journey, photographed on a studio day self-styled in her favorites from our collection.


Photography by Mary Pistorius

On Finding Expression

"Art has been a significant part of my life for as long as I can remember — since I was a toddler and throughout my childhood. I didn’t know at the time how important it was to me, but I knew it was something I was organically drawn to, and a constant throughout my life. I took art classes outside of school growing up, and attended summer camp at an art museum. It all started with coloring and drawing, and then it evolved into painting."

On Fashion as Artform

"Third to paint and words, clothing will always be next in line as my medium of choice — I’ve always gravitated towards fashion as a form of personal communication and expression, and I never miss a chance to dress up. The body is very much like a canvas, so I am always excited to find ways to cover it, mixing fabrics and proportions and looking for new fashion inspiration. I dress in a somewhat limited palette, especially compared to the colors I paint with, but I am always eager to try new things in my wardrobe."

On Wardrobe Staples

"My wardrobe staples include a great pair of jeans, lots of button ups and tshirts, an oversized blazer, and statement shoes — I oscillate between my old Céline slides and my LR Reed heels in Dark Gold. I love adding a sock to sandals, especially in the cooler months. I think it gives the outfit a bit of irony and intrigue.

"If I’m dressing up, I love a great trouser, slip dress, or statement skirt. LR’s Milo Scalloped Ruffle Skirt is the perfect piece for a dinner party or night out with friends. In the studio, I definitely keep it on the cozy side, sweaters, leggings, joggers — pieces that I don’t mind getting covered in paint!"

On Palette

"My paintings range in texture, from transparent to more heavily-applied impasto strokes. I am in constant consideration of color and form, and how it can help translate the conversation I have within and between my works. From an art historical sense, I am very drawn to the color use of the Post-Impressionists, the New York School Abstract Expressionists, specifically Joan Mitchell and Helen Frakenhaler. Lately I’ve caught myself looking at Jacob Lawrence’s use of vibrant colors, and Viridian green, and I've been using that as inspiration throughout my recent works. My favorite colorist, who’s palette I'm always dreaming about is Howardena Pindell. Her mastery of color is absolutely sublime. I mix these sources with my own interpretations of nature to find a collection of colors that feel distinct to me."

On Advocacy

"My journey toward disability advocacy started as conversation, and speaking up in spaces where I saw that it wasn’t happening. Disability awareness, whether cognitive, physical, seen or unseen, is something that isn’t optional, and shouldn’t be an afterthought when we think about diversity, equity, and inclusion. One in five people live with a disability – over 1 billion people worldwide. If we’re not talking about it, and we’re not making spaces more accessible and equitable, we are collectively missing the mark.

"My own outspoken advocacy stemmed organically for me — when I began to become more comfortable with talking about the nuances of my disability and intersectionality as a black and disabled woman, I decided to put my pen to paper, and share more of my insights and observations about lessons learned, ableism, and insisting that those surrounding me actively seek inclusion."

On New Beginnings

"The transition to Chicago has been smoother than expected. I do miss Washington, D.C., which will always be home, but I’ve been enjoying my time exploring the city, meeting new people, and really experiencing the art community and culture here. I am unsure how I will handle the winter, but I'm sure it’ll include lots of layers."