40 Prominent People | California Art Club

California Art Club
Peter Adams, President


Peter Adams, President of the California Art Club

Distinction: The club has made significant contributions to the revival of interest in traditional, representational painting and sculpture.
What has been the biggest change you’ve seen in the art world during your career? When I became an artist in 1978, traditional realist art was not even on the map in the art world. Now it has achieved a foothold in Southern California’s art establishment.
How do you think the CAC has contributed to appreciation for traditional art over the years? The club presents more than 20 exhibitions each year. And our quarterly newsletter, which is 32 pages long and printed in color, has been our best ambassador.
What do you hope the organization accomplishes in the next 10 years? I would like to see the club provide more programs for painting, drawing, and sculpting, as well as develop a first-rate fine art school. Also, I want the club to have a hand in training future art writers and journalists.
Describe the organization in one word. Friendly.
What is your most memorable moment in the club? I was at a paint-out with about 25 artists, painting the scene from Wagner’s opera Gotterdammerung, where Siegfried is enticed by three Rhine maidens to throw the ring back into the Rhine. We were painting at a big manmade waterfall in downtown Los Angeles. It was hot, and the models asked me to turn on the water switch that would spray them gently. I went back to the control room and fooled around with a few buttons, and at first everything worked perfectly. The models were getting sprinkled by a gentle mist. Within minutes, however, the mist became a torrent. The water raged over us and propelled us over the falls. Siegfried with his armor got all tangled up with the screaming Rhine maidens, and the dumbstruck artists were cascaded headlong in a flurry of brushes, palettes, and easels. All of us gasped for air as we swam to save our lives.
How do you think Southwest Art magazine has contributed to the success of the club and its members? It is impossible to overstate the importance that Southwest Art has had to our artists and organization. Southwest Art was the first magazine to champion traditional, representational fine art in the modern era. The magazine carried the torch alone for many years and practically single-handedly built the western art market. We thank Southwest Art for leading the way.

Featured in “40 Prominent People” in May 2011.