Playing along the borders between the imaginary and the real, my work points to forgotten worlds of childhood written in the languages of cartoons, comics, video games, and science fiction. Once these dreamlands functioned as refuges from reality and reified psychic geographies that we did not yet have our own languages to describe. But as we aged these worlds became increasingly buried. Their pleasure became gradually more remote, yet we never quite shed these rabbit holes into which we once escaped.
In two inter-related series, I am building an atlas of imaginary landscapes. With the Unnamed Worlds these topographies grow from an appropriated element like wind-swept hair from an animation cel or an accidental ink spill, while others exist in a matrix of topographic maps, orthographic views, and broken landscapes. We may long to wander these hills, valleys, and invisible networks of caves, but they remain forever distant.
The series Chimères du Voyageur takes us to these unnamed worlds as tourists with typed text from an imagined travel journal. The disembodied voices interrogate the landscapes as sites of wonder and fantasy, investigating how to commodity the dreamscapes or revealing our own disenchantment after reaching supposed promised lands or never arriving at all.
As I excavate more of these lost worlds, each series continues to grow like chapters in a travel book, while exploring a nostalgia for these lost playscapes and the desire to venture to them once again.
Originally from East Tennessee, Adam Fotos is a Chicago-based artist working in paintings, drawing, sculpture and comics. He received his MFA from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and is currently full-time art faculty at Chicago State University and part-time faculty at the College of DuPage. He has also been a teaching artist with Chicago-area youth through Marwen and Urban Gateways, two arts non-profits that reach out into under-served communities. While his fine art explores a nostalgia for the imaginary landscapes of childhood, he also is an active comics artist, having published over 10 books with comics from Dragon and Goat to Cloud Arcadia.