We consider Antonio Adams the primary Artist-in-Residence at Thunder-Sky, Inc. He is also a co-founder of Visionaries and Voices, a studio for artists with disabilities here in Cincinnati. In 2009, he came up with a design and helped paint a Raymond Thunder-Sky mural on the side of the building where Visionaries and Voices is housed.
Antonio has been a fixture of the Cincinnati artworld since he was about to graduate high school. He was a part of Artworks back in the day, and he was a part of Base Gallery, a local coop gallery Bill and I wer a part of, back in the early 2000s. (“Art Thing,” one of the first outsider art group-shows in town, featured Antonio and Raymond, and was curated by us at Base Gallery.) Antonio’s work since that show has been in exhibits across the world, including New York City’s Outsider Art Fair, and shows in Los Angeles, Nashville, Chicago, Atlanta, and Indianapolis, just to name a few. He’s collected by quite a few outsider art enthusiasts.
In 2011 Antonio had four drawings and a cat sculpture of Terri Schiavo accepted into the permanent collection of “The Museum of Everything” in London, England. These pieces are a part of the 4th exhibition curated by James Brett. The four drawings were done on large size prints of some of Raymond’s unfinished drawings.
In 2012 he has been working on his upcoming show “Unrealized & Unforeseen,” which opens two days after his birthday, August 24, 2012, reception 6 to 10 pm at Thunder-Sky, Inc. “U&U” is a show in which bad celebrities are unrealized back into regular people and chosen friends of his are elevated to celebrity status. There have been many other shows in between and more to come including a show next April at T-Sky called “She Blinded Me With Science.”
During the last 12 years we have seen Antonio grow up and mature into an amazing visionary artist with a penchant for pop culture drama. He has also grown up to be a mature, vital and incredibly intelligent man. When he comes to Thunder-Sky, Inc. on Saturdays (and sometimes Sundays) to work, he is always full of wisecracks but also small but penetrating bits of wisdom.
Antonio uses tabloid stories as a framework to tell his own story; he transforms universal gossip into personal gossamer. He is going to read a speech/sermon at his opening in August in which he shares that he used to be a lonely boy who contemplated suicide after leaving high school. The vision he is sharing with this show has been in all of his work since we first met him. His work is about epic transformation. Each show he does, he seems to come more into his own as an artist who knows exactly what he wants to accomplish.
What amazes us about Antonio is that he has every little detail planned out from where the art will hang to what kind of plates he wants food to be served on for the opening. Many artists we work with often time do not communicate or deliver till the last minute. With Antonio’s show we know exactly what to expect because he has done the work.
What we also like about this project is that Antonio was a friend of Raymond’s. He admired Raymond for doing what he did. He saw the power in Raymond doing exactly what he wanted when he wanted. He channels Raymond’s spirit in his daily life.
(Bil and Keith, Thunder-Sky, Inc.)