Immerse Yourself in the Art of Adam Baranello
Adam Baranello is a bit of a modern renaissance man, a multidisciplinary artist making music, dance, fashion, film and paintings. And just like the label he designed for the special edition of Channing Daughter’s wine, it is all done with heart. Baranello recently exhibited at the Southampton Cultural Center, using the different space for an art exhibit, fashion show and dance classes. His fluency in these different disciplines allows him to speak several artistic languages. “With this ever-changing world it is important to adapt and evolve; art is no different,” he explains. “This space is designed to entertain, engage, and educate the people that resonate with it.”
Baranello earned a scholarship out of high school for hockey where he loved the athleticism but secretly wanted to be an artist. “I got the memo boys don’t dance,” he jokes, “But then when I was 18 and started going to clubs, I learned girls like it when you can dance.”
Pursuing song and dance, he started to put his music up on MySpace in 2004. His wife Gail who teaches dance with him was good at HTML coding and video and he soon earned a following. For cash flow he started selling his hand painted T shirts with his signature fedora clad skull with microphones, and they took off. “I thought what if I put it on canvas instead of T shirts?” Baranello describes his artistic process akin to building an alphabet, “With more words and symbols, every piece became more of a story. If you follow the journey, you see how it gained more depth.” Indeed, he has repeated imagery which he leaves up to the viewer to decipher. With his signature hot pink and black, each piece is both edgy and whimsical in its imagery and message.
One piece includes a Super Hero Checklist: You don’t need the cape, belief, delusional self-awareness, empathy, strength and compassion. Or his Cereal Killer drawing. “I like playing with words,” says Baranello, “Especially where everything is so casual with texting. Hopefully it will give viewers a chuckle or let them feel something.” Another is an image of a race car with the question “Are you enjoying the ride? Or just trying to win the race,” which a viewer secretly bought to surprise her husband who had admired it. One painting which draws consternation has both “scratch and sniff” and “don’t touch the art.”
On a TV showing one of his films, he painted, “This device transmits how beautiful you are.” Baranello feels he is at his best when he is happiest, “I’m a more optimistic person,” he says, “We all know there’s awful stuff but I don’t need to comment on that. I’d rather make someone feel better about themselves.”
And while Baranello’s brand AJB has spread worldwide reaching over 30 countries, he has found a warm embrace in the Hamptons community for his art, film and dance, becoming friends often with the parents of students he and Gail teach. There can be interesting collaborations such as at Crescendo Designs home theater store where he created an immersive experience with his music playing on their $150,000 speakers. He is also able to connect with cultural leaders like Executive Director Kirsten Lonnie of the Southampton Cultural Center who embraced his idea for a living, breathing experience of art, fashion, film and dance in the space. It came full circle when the young dancers he was teaching modeled his hand painted line of T shirts and sweatshirts, meandering through his art work.
Another benefit of being a Renaissance man is that if inspiration in one modality wanes, it can be sparked by interest in another. “I use my art as a tool because I teach, but I teach through what I create so it all feeds each other.”