Many of our shop visitors have commented on and/or inquired about our chandelier, an aquatic beast of a light fixture meant to symbolize Cthulu. (I don’t think a day goes by without someone asking about it.) Well, that chandelier was designed by a very talented artist by the name of Adam Wallacavage. Besides his masterful chandeliers, he’s also an accomplished photographer, known for his dynamic color & style. After getting his career off the ground by shooting for Transworld, Thrasher, and a host of other skateboarding magazines, Adam began to receive attention outside the skate community, which has lead to him documenting and working with countless bands, artists, and art/music movements over the course of his career.
5 Questions with Adam Wallacavage
1) Chandeliers aren’t your only medium, you’re also a photographer whose work is constantly in magazines. How did you get your start and what were the things that got you noticed as a photographer?
I got into photography after I started doing skate zines in the mid 80′s, hanging out on the Wildwood NJ boardwalk. I became obsessed with it quite quickly and it led to working in a one hour photo lab and working for Thrasher magazine. I was inspired by the quirkiness of the skateboarders I hung out with, and basically shot photos that were slightly weird in some aspect. Skate photography by it’s nature is documentary photography, for the most part. I always strive to make it a bit surreal so I suppose that is where my style came from. I got noticed as a photographer because of my funny last name.
2) You’ve shot a wide range of bands and artists. What is THE story you have from all of these shoots… you know, the one you tell at parties about how crazy it was shooting so & so?
Some of the craziest stuff I’ve seen was from being around Bam Margera back in the day. You never knew what was going to happen next, from blowing up cars with dynamite with Turbonegro, to Bam and his friends jumping cars over the garage with a 15 foot jump ramp. The best stuff he did wasn’t done for TV, it was done just for the hell of it. One of my favorite shots is Ryan Dunn jumping off the balcony at the Trocadero theater in Philadelphia. Bam called me 30 minutes before it happened and I was in the suburbs. Somehow I got to the city, found parking, and ran upstairs after getting into a soldout CKY show with a camera bag and no hassles, and literally pulled my camera out of the bag as Ryan jumped. I don’t even remember looking through the view finder.
3) How did you cultivate your relationship with Gwar? I know you worked on album art for them, but were you ever involved with their costumes or any other visual/creative aspect of their identity?
I met GWAR with Metal Mulisha during the time Ryan Deegan almost died after backflipping over the band on a motorcycle. I became friends with the slave pit guys, mainly over my curiosity about mold-making since I make the chandeliers. They liked my photos so I started shooting for them down in Richmond. I was just there last week working on the new cover to their 25th anniversary album. They invited me to photograph them live on stage, but I would have to dress up like a gimp and shoot with a water proof camera.
4) Ok, so photos and chandeliers… odd mix. Is there any relationship for you between the two mediums? And more importantly, why octopi & other tentacled creatures? And why the recent shift to include snakes and Medusa?
I got into the chandeliers through fixing my house up, basically dressing it up to be an elaborate set for my photography. One thing led to another, and now I make a living with the chandeliers. The octopus is because of my 20,000 leagues under the sea dining room and because it is a fun form to make. My friend, artist Jodi Rice, came up with the Medusa, and she sculpted the snakes and we cast her face for it. It’s a fun one. I’m not sure what I’m making in the future, just waiting for the inspiration to strike.
5) Much like us, you have a fascination with masks, bootleg toys, novelties, and just about anything that could be viewed as a “low-brow” collectible. Have you always been fascinated with this variety of eclectic stuff, and how does it fuel your own creativity?
I believe it comes from hanging out on the Wildwood Boardwalk in NJ. That was a wonderful place to grow up. I personally love things that have no real ties to what it is or where it came from. I like mysterious things over common, safe things, I suppose. I tend to gravitate towards things and ideas that have endless possibilities and leave room for imagination and creativity.