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  • Date published: 01.02.24
  • Category: Home Tours
  • Author: Erin Elizabeth

The Makers

First Nations Artist Adam Leng Paints with Purpose from His Home Studio on Yugambeh Land

Adam’s eclectic, retro-inspired apartment backs onto the bushland that inspired his new artworks created exclusively for Bed Threads.

Editor's Note

I first fell in love with Adam's work when I saw one of his large scale, neutral-toned paintings hanging in the home of a Bed Threads team member. His signature curves practically danced off the canvas – so eye-catchingly dynamic it took my breath away.

So, you can imagine my excitement when Adam not only welcomed us into his home, but generously agreed to collaborate on a pair of limited edition prints. Exclusive to Bed Threads, these works explore his deep connection to family, country, and self.

You'll notice the mesmerisingly beautiful ‘Petrichor’ hanging in Adam's sage-toned bedroom and the earthy tones of ‘Dusk’ peppered throughout his apartment – a plant-filled oasis finished with a self-renovated kitchen and vintage furniture. Within walking distance to the bush and the beach, it’s the perfect place to retreat after a long day of creative practice.

We hope you love it as much as we do.

Genevieve Rosen-Biller, Co-Founder, Bed Threads.

F irst Nations artist Adam Leng is many things. Painter, partner, and most recently, father to his 4-month-old daughter, Bobby.

From his home and studio on Yugambeh country on Queensland’s Gold Coast, Adam is embracing what he dubs “this season of life” – a time surrounded by friends, family, and new additions. “We always have family over and extend the table out and put on spreads for people,” Adam says. “My sister’s just had a baby, and my friends and I have had babies and we all just get together for food.”

Coinciding with this period of growth is Adam’s burgeoning art career. Though his foray into the art world is relatively recent – he only started painting two years ago – Adam’s growing list of accolades suggests otherwise. In June, Adam’s debut solo show, “Bobby Love”, exhibited at Hake House of Art, a gallery space located in Sydney's Northern Beaches. He has also collaborated with Incu Clothing, was featured in Hunter & Folk, and found his name on just about every ‘Emerging Artists to Watch’ list published in the last year.

For an artist, the convenience of having your place of practice within footsteps of your bed is the dream set up. But when Adam and his partner, Laine, first moved into their home, Adam’s home studio didn’t exist. It wasn’t until they found out their daughter Bobby was on the way that their downstairs garage space underwent a transformation. “The week we found out Laine was pregnant, I cleared all the junk out of the garage, gave it a fresh coat of paint and moved what I needed in,” he says.

For Adam, being able to spend time at home with his new baby in between his work day is undoubtedly a benefit of his studio set up. But are there any cons? “I do kind of struggle to switch off sometimes. I guess the balance is something I’m still trying to figure out,” he says.

When it comes to Adam’s artwork though, this struggle is non-existent. His works are a harmonious balance between fluidity and form, with confident curves dancing across the canvas. Inspired by his First Nations heritage, Adam’s artworks all feature three meandering lines. "One is the individual, one is country, and one is the ancestors,” he says. “It really just started as a simple idea that I could just sit and meditate on.”

Adam previously channelled his creativity into music, exploring his complex search for identity and belonging through lyrics. Back then, however, he craved an outlet that was a little less literal. “I think meditative is the best word to describe it. Art is a tool that I use to feel closer to where I came from,” he says.

In his exclusive collaboration with Bed Threads, this connection to country resonates in a duo of prints, entitled Petrichor and Dusk. The neutral verdant and earthy tones in each of these, respectively, draw inspiration from the land surrounding Adam’s home. “Where I live, I back onto a bushwalking track that goes to Currumbin, so I wanted to just take inspiration from what I was seeing directly around my house,” he says. “For the ‘Petrichor’ piece, a lot of the bushland is dry neutral greens. The earthy toned work, ‘Dusk’, is inspired by a hill out the back of mine with a bunch of different shades of ochre on it.”

I’ve made so many connections with different mob within art, and it’s really given me a lot of connections that have been quite life changing.

- Adam Leng

True to the spirit of meditation, each of Adam’s artworks are created in the moment. “I do them all stream-of-consciousness. I never plan any works in advance, or go off sketches or anything,” he says.

Alongside bolstering his connection to self and ancestry, painting has also fostered new profound connections with fellow artists. “I’ve made so many connections with different mob within art, and it’s really given me a lot of connections that have been quite life changing. I know so many mob that are just killing it within the creative spaces now, and those connections are really cool.”

Connection is a recurring theme throughout Adam’s life – in his relationships, in his artwork, and also in his home. An eclectic aesthetic style runs through the space, with vintage mid-century furniture and second-hand scores amongst his favourite pieces collected throughout his and Laine’s six years of living together. “Pretty much everything we own we’ve just slowly been collecting, from scores on Facebook marketplace and people getting rid of things. It’s been a slow build-up of collecting everything really.”

The ultimate find? A Parker & Persia hutch the couple found on the side of the road. “The lovely old couple getting rid of it invited us in for a cup of tea,” Adam says. “So it’s cool having the little memory attached to it.”

Another memory close to his heart is connected to the kitchen, Adam’s favourite room in the house. “We love having people around. My partner’s the cook - she’s the chef, and I’m the sous-chef. I chop the garlic. Anything she doesn’t want to touch or finds gross, I have to chop that up. And I just get bossed around the kitchen,” he laughs.

As the hub of the house, the kitchen was the first room to undergo a major renovation. With “no building experience at all” Adam and Laine embarked on a DIY journey few couples would dare undertake. “We had an old 1970s-style kitchen. It was a shocker, well and truly,” Adam laughs. “So at the height of covid, we ripped out and gutted the entire kitchen. I just remember sitting back after we’d done it and before we put the new one in and there was just a hole... the floorboards were ripped up all the way and I was just like, ‘Oh my god.’ But yeah, we got there in the end, and I think we kinda nailed it.”

A self-described green thumb, Adam also has an impressive collection of thriving house plants introducing potted pops of vibrant green throughout the space. In the bedroom, a wash of green pays ode to the bushland that fills the window frame, with Bed Threads Pistachio and Sage linen bedding matching Adam’s ‘Petrichor’ artwork that hangs on the wall. But the palette party doesn’t end there, with a forest green anthurium in an Olive green pot on the bedside ensuring their sleep space exudes natural tranquillity. It’s the perfect place for a meditative moment – just like when Adam puts paintbrush to canvas.

Recreate Adam's look with the Pistachio Bedding Set, and Sage Sheet Set.

Credits

Photography by Benito Martin

Styling by Audrey Won

Video by Cheer Squad

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