A-DOT Media: Pushing the Limits, and Maintaining the Old Guard
A-DOT Media is a welcome relief to the status quo. Specifically, what founders Damir A. Romano and Mark A. Wagner have done is provide an antidote to the dissolution of the contemporary artist figures of the eighties and nineties, Y2K era. There’s a sense that art as we know it is on a precipice, threatened by an increasingly short attention span amongst the masses and a demand for what is widely accepted as mainstream, commercialized entertainment.
Countercultural figures, whether in the arts such as A-DOT Media’s client Ron English, or even the likes of graphic novelist Alan Moore, regularly flick their earlobes at this increasing, consumerist overreach and rest solely on the laurels of a devoted fanbase cultivated ten to twenty years ago. Not so fast on this, however, Romano and Wagner demonstrate. Thanks to an increasing interest in the perceived ‘good old days’ of eighties and nineties counterculture and pop cultural icons, figures like English now are finding themselves reinvigorated to entire new audiences – in this particular case, thanks to his designing the new Fullsend line for the NELK Boys, also affiliated with Romano and Wagner’s A-DOT Media.
English himself is a rare treasure that it is a genuine pleasure to see salvaged. His irreverent origin story hasn’t been sullied by the increasingly digitized, postmodern, and trendified world we’re living in today. English is part of a limited pool of artists still maintaining that kind of clear consistency to the times from which they rose, given something of a cultural boost by the revival of interest in 80s art and culture. Shows like Stranger Things arguably have a lot to answer for with regards to that. But part of what makes English unique in terms of his managing to maintain popularity is his ability to gauge his art with the current, public discourse. “In terms of my key influences, I really liked Keith Haring.
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I felt like he was a self-directed and highly motivated artist that could exist without affirmation. I love artists like Peter Saul and Martin Wong who use extremely personal styles to address larger issues. Someone like Gordon Matta Clark who seemed to have placed few restrictions on his approach to creation was very influential on me. From them I learned to create on my own terms, from finding unique interfaces with the public, to placing few restrictions on my approach to creation, to sustaining with or without affirmation,” he stated to Acclaim Magazine. “…I have painted in a lot of countries and the response is universally positive. I have a lot of characters that are crying out to be animated, that’s something I should probably work on.”
In the same interview, English also stated: “…It seems like street art started getting popular about ten years ago, probably in response to the original street art of the 80s. At first, the second generation street art wasn’t really an art world movement but more of a populist uprising. Since it sprang up outside the cyclical art world it seems to be more deeply embedded than say Neo Geo or Neo Expressionism. Its relationship to society seems to have more in common with sports: something a person grows up participating in and later leaves the activity to the professionals while remaining a fan.”