My soft sculpture studio practice is essentially one big playroom I use to investigate notions of queer craft. I’m greatly influenced by drag, puppetry, street theatre, and other forms of radical performance, which constantly inform my material, design, and conceptual choices in the studio. I often use materials like faux-fur, pleather, and spandex, which nod to my influences with their connotations of costume, nightlife, and sexual scenarios. As a queer person, coming from a community historically policed over the ways in which bodies are interacting, I’m interested in creating objects that want you to touch them. I’m interested in the restraint people exhibit in artspaces, and I’m even more interested in the secret act of touching the art when nobody is looking, which my work encourages and usually rewards. My goal is to playfully instigate conversation about the ways in which we discover, discuss, and engage in the diverse spectrum of sexuality as well as the communities who help to shape our identities. My main process involves dissecting such highly tactile materials into oftentimes hundreds of pieces and assembling them into playful, geometric forms in a quilt-like manner of piecework. I’m very dedicated to a high level of craft. I’ve recently expanded my practice into the realm of inflatables using techniques I took from an old day job making inflatable mascot costumes. Most of my inflatables are likely just a little taller than you are, and they alternate between periods of inflation and deflation. The act of filling with air and of collapsing is essential in bringing these pieces to life. In that sense, I’m interested in failure. Failure to stay inflated. Failure to perform. Failure to communicate. And I’m interested in how these failures make us all the more lovable and human.
Max Adrian holds a BFA in Fiber and Creative Writing from the Kansas City Art Institute. He was awarded a 2015 Windgate Fellowship from the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design for his proposal of an intensive study of theatre design and puppetry among such places as Chicago, Prague, and India. Adrian was most recently awarded an Emergency Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in New York City. He has participated in a variety of residencies across the United States including the New York Studio Residency Program (Brooklyn, New York), the Charlotte Street Studio Residency (Kansas City, Missouri), the Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, Vermont). and the Second Sight Project (Columbus, Ohio). Adrian is a current 2017-2018 Artist-in-Residence at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.