Atlanta resident, artist and yoga teacher Adie Morton has been an artist as long as she can remember. Evolving from printer paper sketches to striking, emotive oil paintings, Adie weaves creativity into all aspects of her life.
We chatted with her about art, gender, beauty standards and yoga. Read on→
Sad Girl Collective: What mediums do you primarily work with?
Adie Morton: Usually oil paints. anything that can give me a texture.
SGC: How long have you been making art? How long have you been showing it?
AM: My parents always say they knew I was an artist before they knew anything else about me. I used to go through a whole stack of printer paper making drawings. They’re all still filed away somewhere. I went to a Waldorf school, so making art was the primary way of learning & communicating. So, I’d say my whole life, though I didn’t even consider showing [my art] until my third year of college.
SGC: As a female artist, do you find that gender heavily influences your art? If yes, how so?
AM: Certainly. A lot of my recent art deals with the frustration of beauty standards and gender inequality. I think the patriarchal structure of our society creates an unfair and even unsafe environment for non-male, non-white folks. My experience as a white woman only scratches at the surface of oppression, and could never begin to fathom other more prevalent, more violent forms of oppression (i.e. oppression faced by trans folk, people of color, etc.)
Our society is structured so that women have to work twice as hard to to get the same achievements as men. and then, people of color have to work 3 times as hard. And trans people 4. And trans people of color 5. I mean, the system of oppressions is so favorable towards men. For men, everywhere is a safe space. Creating space for non-male folks is so important, because they are not created naturally.
SGC: Being in the South and a female/feminist comes with its own challenges — do you agree? If so, what has your experience been?
AM: Atlanta is definitely a progressive little pocket of the south, but for the most part, the south is known for its “traditional” roles, gender stereotypes, and is structured in a way where fine art isn’t really taken seriously, especially by women. A man may do the same thing a women 10 feet away is doing, and get twice the recognition. I can feel that I have to work extra hard and market myself extra carefully to be seen and heard in the art world.
SGC: Tell me a bit about some of your pieces.
AM: My print “The Dancers” is a stone lithograph. It’s got 3 fat women in sensual positions, interconnected by a ribbon. A lot of my “work” this year has been educating myself on the privilege we can have as thin people, our language surrounding fat bodies & how the patriarchy has set up this deep rooted fat phobia in us. I wanted to display fat, femme bodies in a way that was beautiful and sensual and celebratory, without the fact that they are fat being the focus of the piece.
SGC: You’ve recently begun teaching yoga. Tell me about that, and how it plays into your artistic side.
AM: I started teaching yoga this past summer. For me, my yoga practice and my art are not separate. They both grow and change and ebb and flow at the same frequencies, both are reflections of what is going on in my life and in my brain, and I like to think that my yoga informs my creative process, and vice versa. Yoga is such a good way to process emotions and events, and so is painting. I feel like with both, I have a well-rounded creative toolkit.
SGC: Where can we find your paintings handing?
AM: Right now I have a couple paintings hanging in the yoga studio I work at, Dancing Dogs. I actually recently decided that while painting is ALWAYS going to be a big part of my life, I don't feel particularly attracted to the business of art, it feels like its a constant competition for who is "more serious" about art, who's been in what shows, etc. That stuff just doesn't make me come alive. I want my paintings to continue to be something I create for myself, something I connect with, not create with the sole intention of landing certain shows. I like to think I don't take anything too seriously. Except doing things that make me happy. Painting makes me happy. Explaining and justifying myself does not.
SGC: Describe the way your art is evolving, and the direction you see it going.
AM: Visually, my paintings have taken a bit more of an abstract turn. I rely a lot on my intuition when it comes to what i paint, so I don't think I have a super concise explanation for how this shift happened but I assume it's that the more I practice meditation and mindful movement, the less I feel like concrete words and ideas can accurately explain the going-ons of my brain.