Nic Adenau, a visual artist based out of Portland, Oregon, already has an impressive resume. He spent time working production for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, including work on the award-winning “Same Love” video. He was nominated for the American Library Association’s Over the Rainbow Award for his project “April 21st, 2011: The American LGBT Experience,” and has directed and produced a number of critically acclaimed videos.
From his experiences and those who have influenced him along the way, he is now embarking on a new journey on behalf of bullied LGBT youth.
Adenau plans to take a trip across the country for his new project “20” documenting the voices of 20 LGBT youth through photography and interviews.
“The idea came to me really simply,” Adenau recalls in an interview with 429Magazine. “I had been working so much and felt disconnected with people, so I really wanted to be at the will of other people’s stories. I asked myself ‘whose stories need to be heard right now?’ I instantly knew the answer, because LGBT bullied youth had been on my mind. The concept just made sense.”
The material collected during Adenau’s journey will be used to create a website and art book, the proceeds from which will be contributed to combat LGBT bullying.
“I want to keep my voice out of the project as much as possible, and open up a discourse through these stories,” says Adenau. And he wants to present the widest range of experiences that he can. “The biggest challenge with doing a project in the queer community is properly representing everyone. It’s a complex community and I don’t want to under represent or over represent any queer group.”
Of his work on the “Same Love” video with Macklemore, Adenau told The Huffington Post, “He is the hardest working and most humble person I have ever met…His dedication to LGBT equality is incredible. It’s inspired me to consistently make an effort towards positively impacting the LGBT community no matter how hectic my schedule may seem.”
Adenau will also be contributing a series to 429Magazine documenting his experiences while on the road. For behind the scenes access to the creation of “20” and photos from his journey, follow #Adenau429.
429Magazine: In life, who inspires you? What’s your life motto?
Nic Adenau: Most of the people I look up to creatively, I personally know. One of my oldest friends, Samuel Chapman, just co-authored a bill passed in Oregon. I have lots of young friends that are doing some incredible things and I love to watch their careers take off.
Recently, I have been motivated by a quote from John Baldessari on his 3 tips for artists:
1) Talent is cheap.
2) You have to be possessed, which you can’t will.
3) Being at the right place at the right time.
429Mag: Beyond marriage equality and bullying, what do you feel are the biggest challenges facing the LGBT community?
Adenau: The topic of gender has become more important across the globe. I’m fairly certain that transgendered federal rights will be a large discussion within the next few years.
429Mag: What else are you passionate about?
Adenau: I’m passionate about general creativity. Creativity opens the minds of so many people and can lead to some incredible things. I love exploring all sorts of mediums such as installations, experimental video, photography, comedy, and so on. The framing that comes with creative outlets pushes humans to critically think in new ways.
429Mag: If you could say one thing, to every person on the planet, what would it be?
Adenau: I’d rather ask a question then make a statement. I would probably ask, “Do you have any good book suggestions?”