Your weekend reading is here as we proudly present an interview with Adam Ledford. Adam has recently created brand new and exciting artwork for our Lifetime Repertoires series of Chessable courses. We spoke with the artist known as Adam Genesis (and also Dr. Genesis) to discuss art, chess and Chessable.
Adam’s Early Steps in Art
What is your background?
I grew up in the 1990s and graduated in 2004 in a small town in the mountains of North Carolina. I attended a four-year university course for Art and Physics and eventually pursued my artistic interests on my own.
Who are your biggest influences?
I have a wide array of influences that I channel into my art. It can be anything from TV, video, comics and the like, to authors of physics, philosophy and fiction. Some of the most influential things for me are conceptual ideas like that of the X-Files in its approach to writing and visual cinematography. TV shows like Sliders and other experimental sci-fi TV shows. Various animated shows from that era as well influenced me as a child to draw. I also read books on modern physics by authors like Roger Penrose, Stephan Wolfram and Michio Kaku as well as philosophers and political influencers like Noam Chomsky to Robert Anton Wilson.
How have you developed your career?
I’ve always been interested in various artistic paths from drawing/painting to music and writing. I never saw art as being my career at first; it was more of a lifestyle practice, like playing the guitar. In highschool I started painting and experimenting with various mediums and never stopped. In college I studied art but didn’t enjoy the way art is taught in universities and started branching out my interests.
I found inspiration from various rock artists like the band Tool in their grungy, industrial approach which heavily influenced my art from then on. In the last ten years, after my college period, I’ve developed my art into a philosophical cosmic art schema. These ideas and theories I have are expressed in the comic I’ve been working on called Monarchs of Time Warp. Creating this comic has allowed me to develop my painting and drawing skills and bring my interests and hobbies, like chess, to a higher artistic level.
How do you seek out opportunities?
I network and talk to people online and in person. I’ve done fan art for fun and really I try to make art that everyone enjoys. A lot of my opportunities have come by word of mouth. Social media has helped to bring a lot of opportunities through its connectivity and reach.
Working with Chessable
How did you become involved with Chessable?
I decided to make fan art for the Magnus Carlsen Tour event of 2020 and to show my support I tweeted it to them. They took notice of it thankfully and they contacted me for a few small jobs last year. I met some cool people that work for them, named Vjeko and Geert, and we have continued to network since.
Can you tell me about your creative process (from the initial idea to the finished piece)?
I do a lot of study by gathering reference images to create preliminary sketches of ideas. I let ideas flow and develop naturally until something strikes. Then I’ll proceed to sketch the main idea out by hand before digitizing it. I digitally ink out the portrait and paint it in stages until I am satisfied. I really enjoy digital because it allows you to experiment and create without wasting material.
The Chess Connection
Tell me about your interest in chess. How did it start?
I’ve always liked it since I was a kid, because of the way the pieces look. I have a large family and we used to play all sorts of games, chess being one of them. I played some in high school in 2003 but didn’t take it serious until about 2015. My friend, Matt, and I decided to practice and study together. Later I met another buddy, Chuck, long time chess veteran from New York, that taught me further ideas in chess. From then on I have just been trying to improve my Bullet and Blitz.
Are you an active player; either over-the-board or online?
A bit of both, I enjoy playing in person with anyone who wants. I try to play online weekly.
How much time each day do you spend working on your own game?
Sometimes none; sometimes several hours. It really depends on the energy levels that day and what else is going on in my life.
Ambitions and Advice
What ambitions do you have, as a player?
I would like to become a master-level player, over 2000.
Do you follow the top online events?
Mostly, if I have time not being taken up by art.
Club players are always interested in ways to improve their game. What advice would you offer to them?
Take breaks and understand the reason why you want to play chess! I say this because when I’ve gotten mad a few times playing. Taking a step back to remember why I like chess helped resolve my issues with tilt and erase the madness. For me something I love that goes back to my artistic inspirations, is how the pieces visually look and the how they appear to “gravitationally stick to the squares”. (Abstract meta idea). The chessboard excites something in my mind.
Do you have a favourite chess game?
Really dig these Blitz games.
Finding Adam’s Art
And finally… Where can people go to see more of your art?
I have an active YouTube channel, a Twitter account, Facebook, Instagram and a Discord community. I also work with Agadmator on his Chess Manga Age of Caissa. We are working on releasing Chapter 2 at moment.
Adam’s excellent Chessable artwork can be found here. Thank you very much, Adam Ledford!
The other interviews in our popular series are here, in order of publication: