Akeem Adams is an artist who finds beauty in his surroundings and articulates through a number of ways. Born in St. Maarten, Akeem has had the pleasure of listening to the ocean, exploring the hilly landscapes, and then selflessly translating all he has inhaled through his crafts. From his self-taught paintings, to dancing, writing poetry, modelling, photography and acting, Akeem has worked tirelessly to continue his genetic talent of expressing art. We had the pleasure of asking the man behind the work some questions about himself. Meet Akeem Adams.
Who is Akeem, how would you describe yourself and what you do?
I would describe myself as a “creative”, for the sole purpose that I enjoy so many art forms including dancing, painting, drawing, fashion design, poetry, drama/acting, photography, and modelling. I am most known for my male clothing designs which I must say is a huge passion of mine.
Who are your influencers and where do you draw your inspiration from?
My influencers are pretty much anyone who strives to achieve/live their dream. Anyone who puts that extra 1% after that 100% has already been made. The people who have greatly influenced me to be the best I can be and to strive towards perfection are certainly Beyoncé, Barrack and Michelle Obama, Ellen, Oprah, Naomi Campbell, Lupita Nyong’o. These are examples of people who have created a legacy, left a mark and showed the world that no dream is impossible if you believe and work with every fibre of your being towards it. Therefore, I dream big always.
With my work I draw inspiration from literally anything that catches my attention. I have a photographic memory which reminds me of images that stood out to me throughout the day such as interesting architecture, maybe unique people, an old garage or even Museums. The reason why I put so much work into my clothes as far as detail is concerned is simply because of my patience, aesthetic of being a perfectionist and fashion Empires like Balmain; need I say more.
Do you feel there is a difference between “style” and “fashion”? If so, how would you distinguish the two and where would you place yourself?
I have been asked this question so many times and I certainly believe that fashion is a Burberry Jacket you purchase from the store and style is what you do with that jacket to utilize the best of yourself. As we have heard a million times “fashion fades but style is eternal” and the most iconic and influential people of the past and even to this day are going to be remembered not for what designer they wore but how flawless and effortlessly they pulled off look. I would say that I have my own unique sense of style and as far as fashion is concerned to me it’s an archive of short-term trends created and crafted by designers.
From painting, designing, modelling and dancing, it is evident that you are multitalented, which form of art would you say you’ve found the most comfort in practising?
Honestly it is hard for me to choose one because they all work hand in hand and I enjoy them all sooo much but I would definitely say that at the moment my world revolves around fashion designing, dancing, and most recently photography where I capture things most people would overlook.
How much of your personality is involved in the outfits you model? What are some designs that have echoed your personality?
I would say that 100% of my personality is shown in my clothes as what you see is what you get. Growing up I was always shy, and I let my style do the talking but as I got older I realised that everything I make certainly reflects my character and tells the story of who I am, what I’ve faced in my past, and how much I have overcome.
In terms of equipment, what do you use to take your photos?
On a regular day I use my iphone7 to capture images that catch my attention and I would usually have my Sony camera in my bag pack for detail that the phone is incapable of capturing.
Talk us through the concept of three favourite shots you’ve taken:
The name of this picture is Productivity Season. I took this picture during the brainstorming process of sketching and drafting ideas of my Fall/Winter Collection. I remember going for a walk and just admiring some flowers in front of the university library. The contrast of the soft bright flowers against my dark rough skin just looked so beautiful and I felt it was the perfect opportunity to capture how I felt in that moment.
I was asked to style and photograph a friend’s son at a park and the images were so beautiful that I had to put my two favourites. The concept was literally along the lines of how I try to capture the world in my eyes as this “Alice in Wonderland” dreamy planet. I made a crown entirely of twigs I found in the park and hot glued them together. I titled this shoot “Son of Nature”
This one is called Isolation. I took some photos of my friend Shaphan Smith and we were just experimenting with photography at the War Memorial park and I took a one shot on my iphone just for memory sake and this image stood out to me even more than the ones on the camera.
How much of your surroundings and life experiences have shaped you to become the artist you are now? Living in St. Maarten and moving to Britain, race, breaking social norms etc.).
Growing up in the Caribbean in St. Maarten my home has certainly diversified me in so many ways that I could have ever imagined that till this day I am forever thankful for my childhood and wouldn’t regret a day of it. Growing up with strict parents was tough in a sense that I was restricted from doing many things and as a result became an introvert and at some point, I thought that I may have had social anxiety disorder. Growing up in Paradise, in a place people would give everything up to live was certainly a privilege. I could easily walk to the beach and listen to the ocean or go hiking in the hills, visit a butterfly farm or go diving. Also living in a culturally diverse island prepared me for what I had instore for when I came to England. I understood the way certain cultures operated based on experiences from different ethnicities from back home and this was a huge advantage I had over a lot of my friends. Over the past 3 years living in England, I have definitely opened up a lot and become more self-confident not just in my own skin but with so many insecurities that I was scrutinized for as a child growing up. I have learnt to accept my flaws and realized that being different is exactly how I wanted to be seen. I don’t want to be llike everyone else and my friends other people who understand me will understand and respect me for being my true self.
Do you have any future projects coming up?
Yes, I am currently working on my Spring/Summer collection for 2018 which will also contain women pieces. I will be experimenting with even more interesting fabrics and certainly expect some unusual colours.
Akeem's Instagram: @akeem_adams