Growing up in the quintessentially suburban Almaden Valley of San Jose, professional skateboarder and artist Jason Adams was always drawn to the raw vitality of punk rock and its striking aesthetic, or really anything that stood in opposition to the smothering suburban splendor. Around the age of 13, Adams was introduced to the subversion of skateboarding, something that would soon become one of his life’s great loves—so much so that by age 16, Adams was for all intents and purposes a professional skater, with sponsors from the likes of Ventura, Santa Cruz, and more. Adams is considered one of the most influential skateboarders of all time for his raw power, speed, and creative eye in conquering seemingly any obstacle. These characteristics also define his art, which consists mostly of layered stencil portraits of musicians and other cultural figures. Adams first got into skating as an outlet that transformed into a career, and then into art, which transformed the same way. For the future, Adams just hopes to find another outlet—provided it doesn’t replace art as his career.
“As much as I would try, I was never good at traditional art. Drawing, painting, sculpting...I never showed a knack for it, and it was frustrating, because I loved art. It wasn’t until my late twenties, when I had a young daughter and was stuck at home with a leg injury, that I started messing around with making stuff, xeroxing, and stenciling little things. I didn’t consider it art, it was just stuff I was making. Then I found this book of stencil art that showed all this work, and it blew my mind. It opened the possibilities of what can be art and really ignited my artistic purpose.”
Written by Tad Malone