The Spark:

I’ve been thinking a lot about my design career lately. More importantly, I’ve been thinking about how I could meld my artistic side and my design side into a single unified aesthetic. I’ll be the first to admit that my artistic side is really just brain vomit. It’s an attempt to create from the subconscious and to embrace the freedom of making mistakes. In other words, it’s a place where I can make a mess and create without restrictions, rules, interferences or clients. Design is a much more calculated intention. I plan, sketch, and analyze a visually represented solution from a set of abstract problems. How can I get both of these worlds to play nicely together?

The Inspiration:

I launched my Instagram page on January 1st, 2016. Every morning I would sit down, create a new collage and then post it. This went on for a total of 365 days. On December 31st after I posted my final piece, my intention was to kill the page. Where else was there for me to go? Besides, I was completely exhausted. The demand of posting every single day had worn out my creative engine. I did learn a few important things from this project which were discipline, time management, and consistency. There were all practices that my design side needed.

At the dawn of 2017, I decided to keep my Instagram page. I posted new pieces here and there but my output had slowed considerably. However, once I had a less restrictive timeline, I could experiment with the format and develop new ways of displaying my collage work. I began turning my artistic endeavors into short animated sequences. I thought to myself that this could be a new avenue to explore. The thing that excited me the most was adding an element of sound into the mix. I’ve been home recording and writing songs since I was twelve. Adding an element of noise to my collage work just seemed like a natural progression. In addition, it helped bridge some of my design practices into my artistic side. At least from a production standpoint.

As I continued to deconstruct my design career path, it all seemed to lead back to that initial spark that got me interested in design in the first place. Record cover art. I was fascinated with Estrus Records when I was a teenager. Art Chantry’s branding directions had such a deep profound effect on the way that I not only listened to music but how I looked at visual communication. Ultimately, it’s how I look at the world around me. As I grew older and discovered the likes of Barney Bubbles, George Hardy, Linder Sterling, Reid Miles, Mark Farrow, Bob Cato, and Keiichi Tanaami, I could see the power that visual design had when attached to sound. For a period of my life, one almost couldn’t live without the other. Perhaps turning my art into record covers was the next evolution in my Instagram project. I’ve done my share of record covers for various bands and labels, but this was something different. This was an opportunity to create something out of nothing and to utilize my home recording skills. I came to the conclusion that my art is best left in my own hands.

The Concept:

My idea is to build a series of virtual records to be experienced in short bite-sized bursts. By taking the language that I’ve developed through collage and illustration, my goal is to construct an entirely new way of experiencing my brand of visual design. This would not only lend itself to the graphics aspect but to an audio one as well. I would initially create the art and then produce the music that best matched its aesthetic.

The second idea is to manipulate the Instagram format. As a product, its only real function is to post photos and videos. How could I ultimately use this platform in a way that it wasn’t intended for? Suddenly it clicked. I could turn my feed into a glorified record label of sorts. It’s not genre-bending. It’s format warping. It’s bite-sized singles made easily digestible on your Instagram feed. It’s like putting Instagram, Spotify, and my unique collage style into a blender and making a musical smoothie.



Here is some photographic evidence of an art happening I had at 1234GO Records in Oakland over spring 2017. I had already been producing work for another show I had booked at Groove Salon in San Francisco, but I thought it would be a good idea to have a smaller show beforehand to show off some progress work and get some initial feedback from my peers. 

In addition to covering the walls with my art, I also decided to have a few bands play the opening event. I took it one step further by creating some props and projections for the stage. The whole idea was to make everyone feel like they were walking into an experience. A Jewelry Cave experience. 

Aesthetic wise, spring 2017 was a turning point for me. I had dedicated much of 2016 to designing and producing my floating frame transparent work. Since then, I had been really getting into print making as well as getting into working in larger formats. For this particular show, I included both art projects as a bridge from the old to the new. The styles tie into one another pretty well, so I didn't feel like it was too jarring going from one piece to the next. I mean, just look at these pictures... this shit is dope!



At the end of 2015, I had this idea of producing a collage every single day and using Instagram as a platform to catalogue and post my work. I was initially apprehensive to take on such a big responsibility but I dove in head first regardless. 

I'm kind of insane like that sometimes. I can't tell if it's out of fearlessness or sheer stupidity. My therapist is still trying to figure that out as well. 

At first, it was smooth sailing. I churned out a few months worth of work ahead of time and scheduled it accordingly. However, about halfway through the year, I found myself scrambling to make these looming daily deadlines. I managed it fairly well. There have only been a few times where postings were slipped in at the very last second. 

"11:59:59... Eh, it counts."

I can honestly say that I truly know what it's like to suffer for one's art. I found myself burnt out and exhausted at times. I felt like I had no more creative energy to give. But I pushed through. In a way it made me a better artist, designer and human overall. 

Accomplishing goals feels great!

Holistically speaking, I did enjoy the 'push-and-pull' aspect that came with producing so much deadline driven work. You can't love everything you do. If you're passionate about something, you need to let the negatives drive you forward as much as the positives. It's all about balancing it and controlling it. Let the art brutalize you. Let it drive you crazy. Let it become an extension of all your emotions. The good ones and the bad ones. You'll discover new things.

Here is a compilation of all my favorite collages that I built over the year. Watch the video. It's hypnotizing in a weird little surreal way. 

Dig through my Instagram too. I've decided to keep it open for 2017. I'll continue to churn out work for it, but I'll only be keeping it down to a few posts per week. 



Opus Arcade in Palo Alto reached out to me a few weeks ago and was interested in having some of my collage work adorn their walls. It was perfect timing as my show at Chromatic had just ended and I was already looking for new opportunities to show more work. I dig when things just fall into place like that. So, I gathered up around 20-30 pieces that I thought would best suit the space and brought them down. I took the train too. 

Here are some pics of the space as well as the cards made for the showing. 
Cruise by, dye your hair purple and check out my stuff. 



Here is some recent transparent collage work that I displayed at this years Pancakes and Booze show. Nine new pieces on dual layer transparency. 

I also released the first volume of the Spraypainted Prism Art Kit which included things like a postcard, some stickers, a few mini-art prints, some transparent samples and other weirdo knick knacks. I made a 100 in total and they're all gone. 

Good times were had by all!



I’m pretty stoked to announce this upcoming solo exhibition. I’ll be showcasing up to 50 new transparent collages for the month of August at Chromatic Coffee in Santa Clara. Cruise by and you’ll see a technicolor array of psychedelic collage gone wrong. Or right… Either way, it’ll make for some delicious eye candy. 

Chromatic is a cool spot as well. They’re coffee is top notch and the atmosphere they present is chill and welcoming. I'll be talking over their walls from August 5th through the 31st. 



If you’re living under a rock and are totally out of the loop in terms of my awesome Instagram, then you should leave this blog right now and go follow me. —> instagram Here’s the deal. I started my Instagram as a way to continuously output new artwork on a regular basis. My objective is to post one collage a day for the entire year of 2016. I started posting on January 1st and will end the page on December 31st. 365 total days of weirdo Adam Widener collages. I love the idea of giving this project a lifespan. It was born and it will die. My mid-July, I'll be well steeped in the middle age years. 

Anyway, I am gearing up to hustle some art for some Summer public showings and have been experimenting with ways to displaying these collages. I really like the dual layer transparency comps I’ve been doing. But if I want to pump these out pretty quickly, then I may only stick with one layer. 

At any rate, its given the artwork a whole new life. I took some of the Instagram pieces that I’ve been working on and printed them on transparency paper. Then I housed them in floating frames. I like the sleek delicate quality that emits from the art. It’s futuristic, yet primitive. It’s so 2016, yet so 1978. Does that make any sense? Does it even really matter?

Anyway, dig some of these transparent collages. It’s total tripsville, man.