Manc of the Month: Kryshia Adamiec

We are pleased to introduce you to our Manc of the Month for August, Kryshia Adamiec. Adamiec is an amazing contemporary artist. We’re so happy to have Adamiec share with us insights about work, and share her sad but inspirational story of how she got into art in the first place.

Cotton On Manchester: Please introduce yourself to the Cotton On MCR Readers.

Kryshia Adamiec: ‘Hi, my name is Kryshia Adamiec and l am a “Contemporary Artist”. A statement l would have shied away with embarrassment from just three months ago. Now it’s something to be proud of, something that inspires and excites me, gives me pleasure, and a strong sense of well-being. I have a great deal to learn but l am a person creating art, so an artist.’

‘My style varies from Abstract Expressionism to more structured pieces defined by colour and pattern to a free-flowing imaginative narrative scenario as in “Right, Who’s got the remote control” or “We two are one”.’

‘I’ve recently evolved into working in a much tighter, busier, intensely coloured style trying to work luminosity into my works. It’s all experimentation. Each day brings me into the studio with a fresh idea of what l wish to accomplish. Mood and intuition play a great part in what is produced. I really do work with the flow.’

‘I mainly work with acrylics on paper but have recently tried my hand on canvas. I loved it, so plan to do more. The pile of stretchers and canvas sit in the corner now ready for the next stage. I’ve found that I’m totally absorbed into this new world, this place where how/what you feel can translate into something that gives me such pleasure and contentment. I’ve always stood on the sidelines, encouraging others but never actually believing it might be for me.’

‘My background has been in retail fashion, both making and selling so creating something from nothing is in my genes. I began in retail many years ago after leaving a job as an English teacher to follow a dream of retailing my own designs and clothing. Started with a small coffee shop that came with a small annex from which the clothing side started. This eventually became more shops and manufacturing. About the same time came across a very derelict cottage with no facilities which l bought with the help of a book from the library, “How to build your Own House” and with the help of a wonderfully patient building inspector, started falling in love with the physical side of the building process. A love that continues to this day. Still have that book, think the fine to take it back would bankrupt me. Never had much money, but lots of enthusiasm, naivety and a strong belief in that if you don’t try, you never know. Amazing how many people step up to help when they see you really want to make something succeed and that you’re willing to work for it.’

‘Three years ago l finished working in a job I’d always loved to recover from the most devastating event ever to happen to anyone. Sam my only son passed away.’

COM: We are so sorry about your loss. Do you wish to tell us more about your son?

KA: ‘Five years ago l lost my son, Sam, aged 27 to Cystic Fibrosis. It’s an inherited disease that attacks the lungs and digestive system, gradually causing lung and organ failure. The regime to stay well is onerous. Daily physio’s, many drugs, intravenous antibiotics, drugs with every meal to help the body absorb food, oxygen and in Sam’s case a respirator to help breathing during the night. Lots more but just part of their lives. Sam was treated in the Cystic Fibrosis at Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester by Professor Webb and his fantastic team there. Without them and the fact that the Prof took him on so early, Sam would not have had the next 11 years of fulfilling life. With their care and Sam’s determination, Sam went on to win a place at The Slade at University College London from which he graduated with a first. He went on to start a Masters in Fine Art at The Royal College of Art, London but due to his deteriorating health this had to be abandoned, though they held his place open he was physically not able to continue. Sam was also a musician, songwriter and singer, forming a band that was the youngest (15) to play The Hard Rock Cafe at that time. Art and music kept Sam going. His strength and sheer determination made me so proud.’

Picture of Sam in Kryshia’s studio, painted by a friend.

COM: His death was one of the reasons you go into art, is that correct?

KA: ‘When l lost Sam l was devastated, l still am. He never gave up but l started to. I tried to keep busy as a way of filling the void and coping but l was not in a good place. At the back of my mind felt l needed to create, to build, to try something new. So in April this year we built a shed at the end of the garden. It’s got warmth, good light and is my sanctuary. I remember standing in the doorway when finished thinking, “well, l’d better do something now, no excuses”.’

‘So l began, and as the painting progressed, (and there was lots of it) a germ of an idea began to form. If the work became good enough it would be a wonderful way to raise money for the team at the CF unit and Prof Webb at Wythenshawe. That the art Sam loved so much could be used to help others in the same boat.’

‘As l’ve worked and experimented l’ve always felt as if Sam is in some way guiding me. Too many unexplained occurrences have happened along the way, so who really knows. Painting has helped with my peace of mind, is challenging, but in a good way and is definitely helping me mentally at this saddest of times.’

COM : We spoke previously and you mentioned the importance of Prof Webb at the Cystic Fibrosis Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital, tell us more about that.

KA: ‘Prof Webb was the major instigator in raising money and putting together a case for a purpose built Centre for CF patients at Wythenshawe. As a person he is a bit of a maverick. He gets things done but not always by following the rules. So the things get done more quickly. His team, picked by him were second to none. Everyone was special, no jobsworth there. They all worked together in the best interests of their very special patients. CF patients are isolated in their own rooms as each has a bug that could transmit to another patient so no mixing allowed. With the Profs support  Art Therapists and classes were held. Patients offered various opportunities to try different things. But all this costs money and is not always available without extra funding. Prof Webb knows why l’m doing this and that all proceeds from any art sales will go to help any patient that needs it. So far quite a lot has sold. Friends and neighbours have bought. Visitors to the Cotton On MCR All Dayer bought. So it’s a good start. Now l need to be more pro active in putting myself out there and selling and showing more. It’s a great incentive.’

COM: The Art All Dayer: Summer Edition was your first ever Fair! How did you find it?

KA: ‘Things really do happen for a reason. I came across Cotton On MCR, online and noticed you were putting on an event in Barbirolli Square. Decided to go along to see how art was developing after the long Covid shutdown. Was pleasantly surprised to see how large a space it was, what a variety of different disciplines were being shown and the high standard of the work on show. I was intrigued, so on leaving decided to ask the lady manning the show about Cotton On MCR and the thinking around it. The ‘Lady’ turned out to be Domino, founder and curator of the event. Plucked up the courage to show some of my work on my phone and was more than surprised by the positive comments. Quite an emotional moment meant a great deal. Back home went online to find out more info about the All Dayer. Applied and was accepted to show. So that’s how l came about showing at my first ever Fair. What followed was panic and a huge learning curve. Do l show originals or prints of them? Discovered there are lots of different types of prints. Was recommended Giclee printing on archival paper. This required a high standard of photography, another step. How many to do? What sizes? How to price work? Framed or unframed? What was needed to display? Stands? Labels, cards, and set up an Instagram account. The list seemed endless and all in just 3 weeks. My partner Dave was wonderful. Took over the role of photographer. Transferring all to computer files ready for a printer. I found a printer dealing with artists’ work who managed to proof an awful lot of work in the short time we had. Dave taught himself to cut mounts. eBay’s a great place for second-hand cutters. I began framing. The house looked like a bomb site but we did it. Never worked so hard but learnt so much.’

‘The day of the Fair arrived. Nervous, would anyone like the work? Would they buy any? Arrived too early but gave us time to relax ready for opening. Once inside all the hard work and preparation paid off. Other exhibitors were friendly and helpful which was lovely and reassuring. Then we were open and the first visitors filtered through. Within 15 mins we made our first sale, felt as if l could relax. Lots of positive feedback helped together with a steady stream of buyers. Despite being told by other exhibitors that footfall was down on the previous event, (there was a rail strike and Glastonbury was on) we continued with our chats with visitors and a steady stream of sales. Learnt a lot on what are the best selling sizes, what price points customers find acceptable and the sheer diversity of who likes what.’

‘We both loved the whole experience, especially when at the end of the show one of the more established artists came over to suggest a swap of work. Thank you Ben from sketchmcr, you made the day even better. Especially when you went on to give invaluable advice on Instagram and said you would give us a ‘Shoutout’ on yours.’

‘All l can say is that if you are thinking about showing and selling your work, just do it. You will meet lots of great people, you will learn a great deal and who knows where it might lead.’

COM: You have a huge variety of work, where does your inspiration come from?

KA: ‘My inspiration comes from years of looking. Fashion shows, galleries, following student shows, fabrics, colours, architecture, furniture, it all soaks in. It must have been done as the work has just flowed out. One painting was inspired by what l saw through a broken mirror. Another from a remnant of cloth. The mix of colours used in fashion, graffiti on a wall. Not having any formal art training means l have no set rules to break. Intuition drives some work. My mood on the day others. Experimenting with materials that probably shouldn’t be put together creates a point from where my imagination just takes over.’

COM: Do you have any goals that you are striving towards?

KA: ‘With each piece of work the goalposts move. Have enjoyed working on paper but would love to express myself on larger canvases with more emotive energy. Have a number of large stretchers and a roll of canvas in a corner of the studio just calling out to me. I have worked on a textile structure.

‘Using my background of fabric and thread. This is just part of it, “Teepee to Joy”. Really enjoyed the process and would like to expand ideas in 3D. Have already a 60’s piece in mind. Been collecting together what l might use to commit to what l see in my mind. A large metal sculpture would be exciting. Dave has the welding skills to put together the forms l see. Now I’ve broken out of my comfort zone would love to push still further and just see how far l can take things.’

COM: What is a day in the life like for Kryshia?

KA: It’s never the same. We have no routine as such. Do love an uninterrupted day in the studio knowing I’m in scruffs for as long as l like. We have a chat at breakfast about what each of us hopes to do that day. It’s a great start but knowing if something crops up we can change plans quickly and easily. Have in the past enjoyed working on the garden which has evolved into a work of art in itself. No subtle colour there but a mass of texture, shades of green with mad splashes of vibrant colour. Now it’s a gentle walk round in the morning to see what’s opened and what might be fading with clippers in hand to deadhead. Finding that quiet walk round helps clear my head and feel more grounded. Another cup of tea to take into the studio whilst l sort out what l will work on that day. Still excites me. Look around at what’s been completed,  giving me thinking time as to what direction l want to go. Colour is always my starting point and l enjoy the process of mixing the hues l want to start with. Once my head is down time flies. I’m very lucky, l live in a quiet village on the edge of the Pennines, quite rural but easily within striking distance of Manchester or Leeds. So if l feel the need for a city break we just go off to see what’s happening with whatever we find interesting. The neighbours are intrigued with what they have heard is happening so I’ve had a number of visits which has been lovely. What’s been even better is that they seem to be fascinated by the type of art I’m producing. Not what some are used to but they have come back and bought a piece and then come back again to tell me how they love it on their wall. A result.’

‘Usually work until 6 then, over cooking and eating catch up with what each of us has been up to. Dave is designing and working on furniture which l love so there’s def a creative vibe round the house. Always try to have a day or two to both go out and see something new. Might be an event we’ve seen advertised, an auction, (we both love mid-century furniture and bizarre objects) a town or village we’ve not visited for a while, in fact, whatever catches our attention. It’s amazing how refreshed l feel going back into the studio after one of our jaunts.’

COM: What do you think of the Manchester Art Scene?

KA: ‘Relieved that it’s opening up again for a start. So pleased to see a lot more contemporary work is being shown. The area l live in has a number of painting groups and they all seem to be well attended. I’ve realised l prefer to work alone, certainly for the moment but know l can visit a number of mills around, that house many studios where art is thriving. We have the established places i.e. Manchester Art Gallery, Whitworth etc and lots immediately around Manchester. We have a wonderful gallery in Uppermill called The Weavers Factory, which every month stage the work of an individual artist. Always professional and certainly eclectic in their choices. Great to see. The Uppermill museum stages 3 or 4 art shows each year. We hear about and go to Art trails or open studios where it’s a constant pleasure to see the diverse style and quality from so many different makers. Have noticed, probably because l’m looking more, that Artisan Markets are becoming more prevalent. Which again gives another outlet for all those independent artists wishing to share their passions. It also allows the public to enjoy and see a different side of creativity. I enjoyed the event put on in Barbirolli Square mainly because it was a surprise. Due to my previous job in fashion and the amount of time l spent in London supporting Sam, l was able to see lots of events and students’ work and visit those prestigious galleries we all read about. Obviously a lot of money and a (sometimes) high standard of works shown. Usually, you don’t see something put on in Manchester like that in such a large venue. It was so refreshing and a brilliant concept.’

‘Manchester and the area around has thousands of artists in every field. Art is, as l know, so important in so many ways, health, heart and socially, whether making or just enjoying and the more prominence it gets, the better it is for all.’

COM: If you could live in any artwork, what would it be and why?

KA: ‘Since starting on this path I’ve looked at many more painters than l have probably had time for before. One that l keep getting drawn back to is an abstract/expressionist female painter, Joan Mitchell. Her paintings are full of movement, colour, drama and strength. I imagine her to be fearless with her use of paint with a sense of anarchic abandon, yet to me, always in control. To have been in the room whilst she painted or within one of her works, soaking up her energy,  would, I’m sure be invigorating and enlightening.’


You can find more about Kryshia’s work on Instagram at @kryshiacontemporaryart.

You can also contact Kryshia to either discuss or buy or just make arrangements to come over to her studio to look. Her email is [email protected]

Related Articles

Manc of the Month: Lee Cooper

Manc of the Month: Lee Cooper

We are pleased to introduce you to our Manc of the Month for July, Lee Cooper. Lee is a brilliant photographer in Manchester, and you might recognize his work from many of the Cotton On MCR events he has taken part in, from our Art All Dayers to our local exhibitions....

Manc of the Month: Mary Naylor

Manc of the Month: Mary Naylor

We're so happy to introduce you to our June Manc of the Month artist, Mary Naylor! We are so excited to have Mary share some their inspirations and experiences with us. We recently has one of Mary's pieces as part of our In Manchester exhibition, and it was not only...

Manc of the Month: Liz West

Manc of the Month: Liz West

We are very excited to introduce our May Manc of the Month, Liz West. Liz creates amazing large-scale installations, utilising light and colour to create immersive, all-encompassing experiences in which you can completely lose yourself. Cotton on...