Adam Swanson

Q: Tell me about your new art show.
A: This show focuses on threatened animals, the natural environment and robots. I am interested in painting about animals, adaptability and the things we can do to make our world a better place for future generations of life.

Q: Why do call the human presence “fragile”?
A: In the grand scheme of things, humans have not been around for that long, and at our current rate of consumption, our population levels are unsustainable. I think our push and pull with the natural environment can provide valuable lessons and understanding how to manage our relationship with the systems of the Earth (and universe). It’s key to our survival.

“Blameless Blue” by Adam Swanson

Q: Talk about the relationship between art and science.
A: Earth-orbiting satellites and other technologies​ have enabled us to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate. This body of data, collected over many years, reveals the signals of a changing climate. In my local community of northern Minnesota, researchers spend lives learning to collect and process data. Expressing these findings to groups outside of their peers has often come secondary. Creating artwork exploring these processes is one way to draw outsiders into the complex theories built upon years of research and data collection.
This type of research inspires me. I am the kind of artist who asks questions and processes information. My work as a painter doesn’t often result in any answers to complicated questions but it highlights my ideas​, the processing of my thoughts and feelings.
Science is a method designed to process ideas.​
I believe artwork can be a strong voice for introspection and inspire creative solutions for positive change.

Q: What inspires your painting?
A: I am inspired by humans and the natural world. I am inspired by my travels and time working in Antarctica. I am inspired by people who do great things. My wife inspires me to keep following my dreams, and my children inspire me to work harder.

“Restless” by Adam Swanson

Q: Where can people view and purchase your art?
A: Currently, I have a show of 40 paintings at Zeitgeist Arts Café and a show of 20 paintings at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minn., both up through April. I show permanently at Lizzard’s Gallery, Siiviis Gallery and Lakeside Gallery in Duluth. Sivertson Gallery in Grand Marais, Minn. Art Resources Gallery in Minneapolis and Edina, Minn. Kelley Gallery in Woodbury, Minn., and Hudson, Wis. Mason Fine Art in Atlanta.

Q: What training have you had for painting?
A: I received my BFA from the University of Minnesota Duluth. I have also studied painting and printmaking at the University of Tasmania and taken some coursework in France. The past six years, I have been working Monday to Friday, 8-5 p.m. in my studio, taking workshops and learning from others.

Q: Are you interested in teaching painting? Do you do art activities with your children?
A: Yes, I enjoy teaching. I teach a few classes at the Duluth Art Institute each year. My two boys and I make art together all the time. My studio is usually the first place Jasper comes when he gets off the bus. Oliver is younger, not in school and spends a lot of time in here during the day, drawing, painting and gluing things together.

“Remind” by Adam Swanson

Q: Tell me something you like about Duluth.
A: I love the way Duluth has embraced its shoreline with Lake Superior. I love the trails, rivers and how easy it is to find an active little piece of wildness. I love the clean water.

Q: What hobbies do you enjoy?
A: I like to travel and help my wife take care of our goats and chickens. I like to ride my bike and cross-country ski.

Q: What are you reading right now?
A: Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood

Q: Your artist statement references “where we came from” and “who we are.” What is your answer to those questions?
A: I don’t have answers to these questions. My work is the product of my thoughts about these questions. Generally, I know my recent heritage is from northern Europe. Looking back further, I know I also evolved from human-like apes. Beyond this, the seas, beyond this, the stars. Where does my timeline end and begin? I do not know. “Who I am” and how this relates to “who we are” is something I like to think about every day.


for “Art & Science”
A Collection of new works by Adam Swanson


Through April 25


Zeitgeist Arts Cafe Mezzanine,
222 E. Superior St.
Downtown Duluth


All are welcome.