Drawn to the Eclectic

'Renegade' art studio adds progressive flair

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Photography by Richard Rasmussen

Hot Springs is known for its variety of entertainment, bath houses and scenery. Another thing that isn’t lacking from the Spa City is art — and that’s where artist Joshua Adams comes in.

Most people know him as “Red.”

“The nickname Red came up from joining the Bandidos Motorcycle Club; I’ve been a member for going on three years. The nickname came from the redness in my facial hair. I’m actually not a redhead, I’m blonde, so I have blonde hair, brown eyebrows and a red beard. I kind of look like a Neapolitan with multiple colors,” Adams said.

Born in Memphis and raised in Hot Springs, Adams attended college in Arizona and left school to become a tattoo artist for two years before moving back to Hot Springs in 2007.

Never having picked up a paintbrush in his life, Adams and a friend became interested in painting and it was history from there.

“For him, it was just more of a hobby and for me, it started out that way, but I kind of developed more of an interest in it and I kept going with it. We still regularly meet and paint together.”

To keep himself motivated and interested in his work, Adams strives to surround himself with other creative and talented people who make him want to be “better.”

“Staying motivated in painting is all about what you want to accomplish, because anything that you do, you have to find your own motivation,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to get into the gym and lose that holiday weight or if you want to start your own business or paint, you have to find the drive to do it. If you ever lose that drive, you probably won’t ever find it again; you have to keep that fire lit.”scene2

Adams’ work can be seen around town in places such as Luxe Boutique, The Fine Arts Center of Hot Springs and his own studio Renegade Art Studio, 717 Mid America Blvd., which has been in business for about two years.

“I like to paint anything that captures my interest in the moment. I go back and forth with what I’m interested in,” he noted. “I like certain styles but when it comes to what I actually like to paint, it’s whatever strikes me at the time.”

Just like any artist, Adams said he’s rarely satisfied with his work at first glance and always leaves room for improvement.

“Some things I can dish out really quickly, other things it just depends; I’ll get in a mood and I’ll paint and then I’ll reach a stopping point where I want to step back and look at it, then make a decision as to what my next step is, what I do and don’t like about it, if I’m going to go back and fix anything,” he added.

Anyone who has ever seen Adams’ work could describe it as “eclectic” or “radical,” and that’s exactly the style he’s drawn to, though it may not always be popular with the galleries in a historic district, which is why he opened his
own studio and named it “renegade.”

scene3“There’s not a huge variety of younger artists opening galleries; it’s very much the old-school kind of mentality and you’re having to combat that because they’re set in their ways and it’s been successful for so long that there’s really not a reason to invite a lot of different things in or invest in an artist that is a little more radical,” he said. “You’re always going to have landscapes, you’re always going to have fruit studies, portrait studies — and that’s necessary, it’s just never been something that I was drawn to.”

Adams has created the cover art for the Women’s Chamber of Commerce “Dancin’ for a Cause” event for the past three years and is scheduled to do a show for the Ouachita Children’s Center Charity Ball at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at the historic Hamp Williams Building, 510 Ouachita Ave.

“It’s nice to be able to get your name out there but I really like working with people that have a cause,” he said. “It may not always be financially beneficial but it’s more rewarding in another aspect so I’ll continue to do that.”

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