Photography by Adam Donaldson Powell



I am sometimes asked where I get my ideas for painting and writing. In these times, of immediate, constant and comprehensive commercial media and social media documentation of occurrences, images and ideas, it can be difficult to find ideas and motives for both painting and writing that have a possibility of permanence/surviving from one month to the next since world developments and the ongoing conscious shift seem to be advancing both slowly and with lightning speed. Similarly, art photography has moved quite close to realistic and semi-abstract painting art, and in the eyes-of-some is possibly rendering painting to become a somewhat outdated contemporary art form. But, regardless of artistic discipline, at its core art is about timelessness and about seeing more than that which meets the eye, at any given moment … it involves digging beneath the surface to find ways of depicting both immediacy and a degree of impermanence, plus an overall framework/perspective, movement and/or consequences, and more. This holds true of both realistic, semi-realistic and abstract painting. Each work of art is a documentation of a thought, in a moment, in a process … and yet within an overall framework of many other perspectives, political/social/environmental/economic developments, etc. over time. It is perhaps normal to focus upon humanity/portraiture, nature, landscapes and the psychological/social elements of life at the moment and the epoch. But one of the most constant aspects of life on this planet is also perhaps one of the most impermanent ones — as well as one of those which pose the greatest threats and a sense of endless possibility: clouds. Clouds come and go — in peace, with dramatic warnings, sometimes with thundering punishment, and always with a sense of soulful and planetary cleansing/purification. As with in creating paintings, with clouds there are always several processes and developments going on concurrently, and permanence is subjective.

The old masters were generally quite adept at understanding the importance of framing landscapes, and oftentimes dramatic Earth-life scenes, with clouds. I have painted many paintings with clouds as a focus. This because clouds are not merely an aspect of framing motives and putting human drama into an overall perspective, but they are also sometimes worthy of being the primary focus and motive.

Therefore, I sometimes use photography as inspiration for paintings. Here are some of my clouds photographs:



















Yeah, he’s a survivor …
His alcoholic mother has breast cancer;
and his ‘dad’ left long before
he was born.
Living in a trailer park
has its perks: no one really
cares if you stay out all night …
or for days on end, for that matter.
Yeah, he’s a survivor …
His sister is an ex-whore;
struggling to stay ‘clean’
so she can keep her job
as a cashier at Wal-Mart.
Her loser live-in boyfriend is
a ‘good-for-nothing’ …
a fucking bum who
won’t even bother to recycle
bottles discarded in garbage
receptacles or containers.
Yeah, he’s a survivor …
He gets beaten every other day
at school; and slapped once-a-week
at home. He’s used to it: doesn’t care
anymore really, but he has recently
begun carrying a switchblade to see if it
can be a deterrent … like going to war in Iraq.
He dreams of getting a handgun, and is hoping
that someone famous will one day pimp his ride.
Yeah, he’s a survivor …
He takes his HIV-meds when he remembers.
Life is a sweet mixture: sometimes ‘heaven’,
and oftentimes ‘hell’ … depending on the ‘high’,
the sex or the lack of either (or both).
A neighbor-punk called him ‘faggot’ once …
He just smiled … causing the asshole
to run in haste and fear. Who cares?!!
It’s all temporary anyway; what with
global warming, nuclear threats, serial killers
and terrorism .. and those fucking ‘super malls’.
His favorite posters in his room are pictures
of victims: from the second world war, from
natural catastrophes, from terrorist attacks …
anyone who reminds him that he is one of
the lucky ones.
Doesn’t matter. For the moment anyway.
At least that’s what he thinks when his
mom blasts the old disco hit “I will survive!” …
the one time in a blue moon when he
sets himself down to do his homework.
Yeah, he’s a survivor …


Heritage … right!
So what has your generation
really passed on to me?!!
A set of identities that often don’t fit;
a world riddled with standardization,
plastic reality-show idols,
global warming,
and all too easy access to drugs …
(that sweet salvation that ultimately enslaves).
Sure, I respect what you worked for:
a sense of potential, and the
personal freedom to express my
‘right to be me’.
But what the fuck does it matter when
individual isolation in an
out-of-control jungle presses me
further inward than you ever were?
I won’t give up today’s cyber-existence;
but sometimes I really do envy your
‘Good old days’ …
Heritage … right!

(from “Gaytude: a poetic journey around the world”)


Hey Homeboy!
Ran into Faith, your woman,
up in the barrio last Saturday.
She wanted to know how her ‘homeboy’ is.
I told her you was still doin’ time.
Her ma won’t let her write,
but it ain’t been the same, bro’.
Little Julio’s started dealin’ crack,
and she’s two months pregnant.
When I asked her if the kid
was yours, she started cryin’.
I didn’t know what to do, man;
so I put my arm around her
and mumbled: “You gotta keep the fai …”
Then I stopped, dried her tears
and smiled, while sayin’:
“If Homeboy was here, he’d tell you
to keep the baby, Faith.”

(from “Collected poems and stories”)


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