Being an artist seems like an impossible dream to many individuals with creative yearnings. Adam Padilla, of Albuquerque, NM, however, is one of many working artists that disprove this impossibility. Padilla, 42, spent almost a decade in Los Angeles before returning to his native Albuquerque. He now spends seven days a week as a full-time artist, working four to five hours per day, producing five to six new pieces of available art. Padilla participates in random gallery group shows, but the bulk of his living is made online via social media and his website.
How refreshing is that notion—doing what you love and making a living out of it? Padilla’s Instagram is inspiring–the artist posts in realtime and his creations are often times sold within minutes. “I’ve been very lucky,” reflects Padilla. “I just started posting original illustrations, staying consistent and pushing out an incredible number of available pieces at blue-collar prices. Collectors that may never have had a chance to own an original painting can now have several, along with prints!” Padilla cites luck, but considering his workflow and discipline, it is clear that a strong work ethic is at the heart of his success.
Padilla’s work focuses on classic monsters and pop culture characters. He has carefully built an audience dedicated to fans of these characters, ranging from 20 somethings, to earlier generations, movie producers, musicians and even celebrities. The artist explains, “It is a saturated market. Commercial characters are always popular. It is tougher to sell original or obscure characters.” He, however, recommends to those interested in pursuing their respective genre to, “stay true to the genre you like and have fun with it—be consistent and never look back.”
His pieces vary subject-wise as he usually picks a character on the spot. “I have developed a way to paint very quickly, and efficiently, that fits my needs,” says Padilla. It is breathtaking to hear the artist talk about quickness as the detail and precision in his work is tremendous and a true joy to watch erupt daily. Especially noteworthy, are pieces that Padilla creates using sharpies on pages of old Playboy magazines and other texts—they are other-worldy.
Even when faced with commission work, Padilla insists on creative liberty, choosing everything from color to body composition. He claims that thus far these freedoms not been a problem. If he sees anything negative come his way on this front, he’s sure to quickly duck back into his studio and continue happily drawing monsters.