I guess I should do a little introduction for my main man Adam Burgess. I met Adam a couple years ago through a friend I had met my first year living in Northern Japan. It was all thanks to Myspace and the internet that the two of us were brought into eachother’s lives, like a 30 second Harmony.com televison slot. We spent the next two years after that going around Japan, skateboarding and living it up.
I have a funny story about Adam. My friends Matt Bollis Brendan Connelly, and I were travelling around Japan one Spring about two years ago and happened to be infront of a TV that was a window display in a shoe store. We noticed that the televison was playing a Skatepark of Tampa contest video, the same place Adam was employed prior to coming to Japan. As bottles of champagne were being sprayed all-over former pro skateboarder, Jereme Rogers, Adam’s face came into the frame and we all made an effort to reach for our cameras to capture that very surreal and very funny moment.
(A typical night of skating for the A-Man, in a department store while wearing his favorite one piece pajama suit)
Adam, as I look to the left of my computer screen, I notice a status update from your wife saying this, ” Adam Buy me PUPPY.” I know your wife, and I have heard her talking about someday getting a puppy. I know you as a guy who loves nature and the well-being of our planet. How do you feel about animals? Whats your favorite animal and if you could have any animal as a pet disregarding the harm it might do by taking it out of its natural habitat, what animal would you have? Also, what is the current status on you and your wife getting a puppy and what kind do you plan on getting? What type of obstacles are in the way of you guys getting that puppy?
Well, animal fossils have been dated as far back as 500,000,000+ years, so of course I have mad love and respect for all living creatures; warm or cold blooded, walking, crawling, flying, swimming, etc. I can not choose one animal as my favorite animal, just like I can not choose one friend and label them as my ‘best friend’, I’m striving for equality across the board, as hard as that can be. However, I am captivated by graceful, powerful animals like wild canines, dogs and wolves, African felines, and certain insects like grasshoppers. Basically anything than plots and schemes patiently, and sees a path or plan before it actually happens and then has the power to sprint, lunge, or back-peddle with finesse and agility in a predetermined or random fashion. If I could father any animal and trust it completely, I would have a Bengal Tiger. A pair of tortoises would be my second choice.
We both would like a small dog, preferably less than 10 pounds, because with smaller dogs it’s easier to control their bladder and thus the amount of times it needs to be walked, considering we work 40 hour work weeks. However, our current landlord will not allow dogs, so we are casually looking at new apartments that would allow a small dog, a toy poodle that is. The love and resources are present and waiting, but the fact that we rent a flat, rather than own one is the only obstacle.
Awhile back in Japan, I noticed that you used to drink a lot of beer. It was because of you that I started drinking beer in the streets of Japan. I never thanked you for that, but it really made for some goodtimes in Japan, skating and drinking brews. I know there were a lot of funny moments we shared in Japan together that involved that brown bubbly stuff, could you tell us one of your favorite memories from being disrespectful and white in Japan? Like when we went to the Tommy Guerrero concert and we disrepected him in front of everyone in the venue and then volunteered to give “Free Hugs,” in the Shibuya crosswalk.
The Tommy G show was amusing, being that we were the only people in a crowd of 300+ dancing and feeling the vibes, as well as shouting at Tommy G to “burn his blazer”. It was even funnier when he replied to our verbal abuse over the microphone. What ever, we were drunk and it was enjoyable. Other alcohol induced anecdotes, uhh? Well, our entire thrashing crew went to Umikaze koen, my local skatepark on the sea, and I started drinking with Natsuki at about 3PM or so. We all had been schralping hard so our fluid levels were low in the humid sizzling summer that Japan is infamous for, and I hadn’t ate anything all day. Three tall boys and 90 minutes later I was drunk, laughing and thrashing. I had a beer on the way to the train station and one for the ride, and I was on my way from the skatepark to an all you can eat and drink party in Totsuka, via a 30 minute train ride. I passed out on the train in a full car with about 40 other people, and when I woke up I had missed my stop, my tall boy was rolling on the floor spilling beer everywhere, my skateboard was rolling around, and everyone had left that car and gone to the adjacent train cars; alas, I was alone. On the same train line I passed out after a work party and rode the last train to the final stop asleep, and I awoke to the conductor telling me to get off. The trains were finished for the night and I think I was about 15 miles from my house. I only had $32 and the taxi ride was $40, so when the meter hit $32 I just got out and walked the remaining mile home. Situations like that happen all the time over there with people falling asleep and the other train riders not waking them up. I also got hammered with Taichi and Teresa and on the way home from Tokyo, on an extremely crowded train, the last one of the night as a matter of fact, I proceeded to take of my winter coat, and all the layers underneath until I was topless with tattoos blazing and Taichi and Teresa peeing their pants with laughter and all those angry Japanese middle aged people gawking at my Greek-like physique and my Yakuza style ink jobs. We got off in Machida and I vomited for a solid 20 minutes on the train platform.
(Adam likes to sweat under the Hot Florida Sun. He also likes to do ollies.)
You are originally from Florida, and I am originally from Minnesota. The South vs. The North. When we play a game of “SKATE” together, its kind of like a Civil War re-enactment. What are some things that you miss about your home state? What drew you to live in Japan and end up in San Francisco? Do you see yourself living anywhere else?
I miss oak trees, mangroves, Spanish moss, boiled peanuts, thunder storms, rivers, hibiscus flowers, beaches, swimming in the Gulf of Mexico when a school of mullet jump all around you, Cuban food, canoeing, seeing gators, and pristine, raw nature. Of course I tend to miss my friends and family but we all must walk our own path and if we happen to bump into one another along the way, that’s great and I’m pleased. Moving to Japan was done more on a whim than an actual plan. Teresa finished school, and I had wrapped that up a few months prior, and she told me she had an interview to teach English in Japan. She asked that I accompany her, but if not she was leaving without me. So, I made a mental pros and cons list and obviously I did what was meant to be. Living in Japan was a pivotal moment in my life, and the second best decision I’ve made next to marrying my beloved Teresa-chan. San Francisco was a natural transition from the Yokohama/Tokyo metropolitan theme of things; no car, public transit, no snow, amazing food options, lots of walking, solid thrashing, and all around good times. I would like to live on an island at some point in this life just to experience a lifestyle known as “island time”. But at the moment I’m very content with where we are and what we’ve got going on. We are here now.
(Adam hucks an ollie after two weeks of training with Danny Way on the Mega Ramp)
I remember when you stayed at my house right after you lost your job and were homeless, you brought over all your stuff and you showed me your sketchbook. I think I remember you telling me,”Some people think I’m a freak….” before showing me your drawings, or something like that. You opened your sketchbook and showed me these 2-D Japanese style drawings which were a like a village of walking and meandering penis and vagina people. I really liked those drawings. What motivates your drawings and who is your biggest influence? Do you hope to get your work on walls someday?
I said “you may think I’m crazy…” before I showed you my phallic series because only Momma T had seen them at that point. And yes, the idea spawned from a Shinto shrine in Kawasaki, Tokyo that specializes in fertility, or blesses those in need of some baby making magic. I’m sure you’ve heard of the fertility festival in Kawasaki where they carry around giant penises, big pink ones, and sell vagina and penis icicles and what not. I missed it both times but I will experience it one day. At this specific shrine there is a 3 foot high brass penis that people wrap their wishes or prayers around. It’s definitely interesting, to say the least. I’ve got a Polaroid photo of that penis.
My motivation to draw is very spontaneous. It’s hard for me to draw on a consistent schedule, so usually I’ll have spurts of illustrating, as well as droughts. Examples would be sitting at home alone, waiting for my wife and not turning on the computer or TV and just drawing. Herbal stimulation and extra blood flow to the brain always help me pick up pens and create. It was easy to draw when I was staying with you and Soy because you guys slept in late and I would wake up early, so I had to kill time with out disturbing my brothers.
My influences? Well, I try not to be too influenced because I like to keep it fresh, original, and raw to avoid stylized output. However, I do appreciate artists like Roy DeForest, Hokusai, Frida Kahlo, Paul Gauguin, Hiroshige, Craig Kaths, and Mati Klarwein. I enjoy folk art, cloisonnism, Hindu and Buddhist painting styles, mandalas, wood block prints, Mayan and Aztec, Australian Aborigines, and American Indian works. Anything that is colorful, raw, and cultural.
I have traded one painting to my friend Ryan Dodge, other works I just gave away, but if I happen to inspire people enough for them to acquire my work, I would be content.
Do you have any future plans that you will surprise with, such as point and shoot skateboard videos? Drawings? Puppies? Any last words?
I lost my camera in Florida, so at the moment I’m not pointing and shooting. Drawing and being creative is something I can’t let go, it’s too natural for me to ignore, and thus I am currently working on a collaboration with Strange Pursuit, my friend LB Kyle’s zine, as well as another project Kyle is masterminding. Steve Ayers, a Floridian photographer, has asked me to help him formulate a handful of diptychs, so hopefully I can finish that for him before the New Year.
Be confident and proud of who you are, and…well, for me progression is important. I think it’s healthy to progress in some way, or progress at something, whether it’s physical, mental, or spiritual, but always progressing forward.