It's unfortunate that I've only had the pleasure of Adam Hell's company on a few occasions. Typically when we do see each other we tend to corner ourselves off and discuss art, music, and cinema away from the interruption of others. I feel something of a kindred spirit with Adam so seeing his mind at work in this project is almost like holding a mirror up to myself in some ways. Like all good art, Ate Something Bad often reflects the things we think and feel but haven't yet expressed. An affirmation of our own condition, perhaps.
From past experience I know just how difficult it can be to set yourself the task of doing one piece of work a day. I set myself the task of doing one piece per week some time ago and lasted nowhere near a year, so I have the utmost respect for Adam in gracefully achieving what he set out to do. Ate Something Bad is most definitely not a case of quantity over quality and the time frame lends a stream of consciousness aspect to the work. Despite the number of drawings, you still get a sense of how deeply Adam feels in virtually every piece.
I consider Adam a graphic artist, whether he likes it or not. The definition of graphic art is the communication of an idea, in two-dimensional form, without the need of spoken word. "Raising The Flag" (pictured here) communicates quite complex ideas and surpasses the written word completely, which is a very rare gift. Although it might not seem so on first glance, there's a great deal of sensitivity in this volume of work.
The first time I stayed at Adam's house, after a show in Liverpool, I went for an early morning walk with Adam and his brother, Graeme. At one point the two of them stopped to inspect some poo on the ground and discussed, in all sincerity, how long it had been there and who its owner may have been. My first thought was “These guys are trying to freak me out!” but it seems Adam's preoccupation with shit is undeniable. So, it came as no surprise to me to discover that excrement features quite highly in Ate Something Bad (as subject matter, not content).
I'm really happy to be able to edit this project into book format. During the year that Ate Something Bad appeared as a blog, I would often have to psyche myself up before finding out what was going on in Adam's world. The drawings are frequently disturbing; sometimes they're almost too close to home to garner enjoyment from, and I'd have to cover my eyes in order to look at them. I felt the need to leave feedback for Adam on practically every drawing but found it really difficult without coming across as a complete arsehole. I mean, how many times can you say, “You're breaking my heart!” and have it sound sincere? Internet culture almost forces us to comment on virtually everything, judging by the wealth of mediocrity out there. Fortunately, this old-fashioned book has no comment box, and I hope this will encourage people to take their time, make their own minds up, and have their hearts broken.
Frances and I recently did some promotion in Greensboro for the release of Ate Something Bad. These posters have since disappeared. I'm not sure if people were offended or just wanted to keep them. I suspect the latter. Anyway, it was fun to do!!!