We had the good fortune of connecting with Adam Maxwell Townsend and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Adam Maxwell, so before we jump into specifics about your story and work, let’s start higher level. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
Compassion is the most important tool in creating a good life for yourself. You must temper it with iron to succeed, however. Kindness and weakness are not synonymous. I could not have accomplished all I have, especially in the journalistic field, just through being a nice guy. Your goals must be compassionate and for the betterment of your fellow citizens and humans, but you must pursue them aggressively with sharp elbows. The liars and thieves will run you over if you let them.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am foremost a storyteller. All my creative and professional endeavors are aimed at illumination; explaining the world and providing truth and delight — whether factual or emotional, depending on the venue — to my audience. I’m a painter, illustrator, writer and photographer whose art is informed by nearly 20 years as an investigative and breaking news journalist and illustrator at newspapers and web sites across the country, as well as my current work as a medical journalist. I completed my first mystery novel recently, which draws from my experience as an investigative and beat reporter in Southern California. The novel is in the revision and development process. My varied storytelling experience helps me create deeply detailed narrative paintings and illustrations, both on large scale canvases and for print publication. The interplay of color and light on the human form is what fascinates me most, and my subjects are often depicted in the throes of performing a complex skill or action, like playing music or fighting. I try to convey my sense of humor in many of my works. Self-seriousness is death for me. I create art in a bold, illustrative style; each painting aims to create a storybook or chronicle without words, though I also play with incorporating typography into my work. I’m a competent musician, focusing on jazz and R&B keyboard/piano, harmonica, trumpet and the mandolin. I live with my wife and daughter in San Clemente, California. I am currently busy with art and design projects and editing articles for a consumer medical information site with offices in town.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Before the pandemic hit, I loved catching shows at the Music Box. I would take an out-of-town visitor to spend a day at Balboa Park, of course, to check out the museums and street performers, as well as enjoy the amazing climate. Then we’d head to the Gaslamp district for drinks at the Crow Bar and dinner at one of the million great restaurants. I’d have to make sure to bike along the waterfront, hit Stone Brewery in Escondido for an afternoon, and definitely catch a pedal taxi at some point!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to shout out to my parents and the teachers at Indian Creek High School in Wintersville, OH. I got a stellar education and had a great childhood, in spite of the poverty and corruption endemic where I grew up.
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