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15th October 2020
Community Spotlight: Adam La Fleur's Brilliant Alan Wake-Inspired Paintings and T-Shirts

Community Spotlight is a regular feature which highlights and celebrates amazing fan projects in the Remedy community. Today's article is about the incredible art and graphic design work by Adam La Fleur. I've loved his work for a long time, so I'm excited to finally be able to sit down and talk to him about it!

If you're in the Alan Wake community, chances are that you already know Adam; he has been one of the most active, supportive and productive members in the AW community, going back a long time. He's also one of the first artists I met and he's someone that has carried his passion for the series through, creating more ambitious and breathtaking designs as the years rolled on.

One of the earlier interactions I had with him in the fandom was when he showed me a recent Alan Wake painting he had created using acrylic paint on canvas. The piece mirrored the iconic silhouette of the protagonist shown in the title screen and in promotional artwork, and it was really good! The colours of the work perfectly complementing the game, giving that otherworldly but still grounded vibe to the painting, capturing that specific and familiar Alan Wake atmosphere. 


Source: Instagram, @adam_lafleur

In more recent years, Adam has explored different avenues of his creativity but he still paints, of course, creating gorgeous artwork and pushing his skills even further. His style has changed a lot, expanding out into other interests and characters that have captured his inspiration such as Baby Yoda, Coraline, and Pennywise. Many of these creations he shares on Instagram. His most recent one (at time of writing) is an elegant and realistic acrylic painting of an owl; light glistening on its feathers and clear minute detail is given to each brushstroke. 

But, while the painting is still a clear passion for him, he also has started printing his own wonderfully nerdy t-shirts celebrating his favourite stories! Anyone scrolling through his Instagram can tell straight away that he has a clear love of the games and movies, and the mix of that enthusiasm with iconic imagery from those works, leads to this amazing and nerdy blend that feels authentic to the source. 

What makes his t-shirts special is the delicate balance between a bold, minimalist style and nerdy inspirations behind them. The shirts can be worn in a lot of places and not look out of place as a cool and casual shirt. Of course, with this kind of thing, not everyone may get the reference, but the people who do are absolutely going to be on the same page as you. They're the people who are going to come up and strike a conversation. As for the designs themselves, they're pretty elegant! They're not overly extravagant or too much, they're exactly the perfect balance. 

Naturally, as the official Alan Wake store closed years ago, he decided to create designs influenced by the series.

Source: Instagram, @super_sirius_crafts

One of his more recent t-shirt designs features a typewriter as its dominating image, with words streaming from the typebars as if the shirt itself was the paper. The phrase "it's not a lake, it's an ocean" is printed with various (intentional) mistakes, as though was being typed by someone who wasn't quite present. In the background, the secret cache symbol is highlighted in yellow, cutting through the minimal and solid black; a play on the light and dark balances of the game. With the secret image being behind the text, there's a feeling that it's lurking behind, almost despite the darkness in a way, reminding me of the "beyond the shadow you settle for, there's a miracle illuminated" quote from the game.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Alan Wake, Adam also created a new t-shirt inspired by the annual Deerfest event in the game. Printed on dark blue material, reads the words "Bright Falls, 78th Annual DeerFest, Elderwood National Park". The "DeerFest" is the centre point of the design, with the text far bigger and bolder than the words that surround it, and is further emphasised by the line art of the mountains and trees above. To the right of the design is a deer adorned with impressive antlers bordering the word "Falls" and highlighting not only the place name but how everything seems to have its own clearly defined space. It's also possibly my favourite t-shirt design that he's made to date. 

Source: Instagram, @super_sirius_crafts

We recently spoke to Adam about his incredible artwork, both traditional and digital. You can read our interview below! 

First of all, we'd love to know a little more about you!
Can you tell us about yourself?
I think I'll start off with saying that I'm a local artist that lives in Ontario, Canada. I work at a craft store but my main passion and energy go towards creating paintings, sketches, and designing nerdy shirts. Usually, when I'm not working or crafting, I like to go for adventures on a hiking trail if I have the energy or enjoying a good book. I have a passion for writing as well, but I'm still trying to build more of a discipline with that hobby. I love reading anything by Stephen King. My favourite season is the Fall because I love the atmosphere of the outdoors when the leaves begin to change and you can feel the Halloween breeze in the air. My favourite band is a very close tie between Poets of the Fall and Journey and my favourite shows are Supernatural, Twin Peaks, and The X-Files (which may contribute towards my passion for all things spooky and mysterious.)

Where did you get your passion for art and graphic design?

I developed a passion for art and design fairly early in my life. I was always drawing and doodling pictures when I was a kid, and from there I took all the courses that I could take all throughout school. I have to give a lot of credit to my old high school art teacher for always pushing me and my passion for the arts. The biggest lesson I was taught from him is that there is always a better result after you push yourself past the 'eh, it's good enough' phase of any craft. I even still try to teach myself new skills and new hobbies till this day because I love creating things. I usually never know what intend to design until I'm sitting at my art desk! 

Source: Instagram, @super_sirius_crafts

How did you develop your art style? 
I feel that I will never stop developing my art style and that alone is a sort of inspiration that I give myself. There's always something new to learn. There are quite a few artists that have inspired me over the years, like the painter, Bob Ross and the artist of the Goosebumps books, Tim Jacobus. I've also met some friends that are local artists' in their own way that inspire me as well.

Your artwork is amazing! What made you decide to create artwork for Alan Wake?
Thank you! Alan Wake had a life-changing impact on my life. It was really after playing that game that I was introduced to a large portion of my favourite things that I still hold dear to me. Things like my favourite author, favourite band. You could say that it a 'Clicker' clicked a creative spark inside me and lately especially with Alan Wake 10th anniversary this year, I wanted to share artwork to my fellow fans and to the creators of the game as well.

How do you find your inspiration in the games? 
I remember borrowing the game from an old friend of mine shortly after it was released. I knew nothing about it before playing it but I was hooked from the very first cut-scene of the game when Alan references Stephen King as the camera pans through the sky and shifts into his nightmare. Over time I wanted to create a tribute.

Source: Instagram, @super_sirius_crafts
 
Moving onto your t-shirts, when you’ve decided to go ahead with a t-shirt design, what’s your process to make it happen? Are there any routines that you have?
For my shirt designs, I usually carry a scrap piece of paper or a notebook with me for whenever inspiration hits me and doodle a very rough template once an idea clicks into my head. I usually get most of my ideas out of the blue while I'm outside or at work! Once I have my rough idea copied down (and the free time to start) I usually have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and I'll play music or listen to scary audio stories in the background. If things go well, I'll be able to create it on my computer and then I'll leave it for a day to think back on what I can do to touch it up because the materials can be pretty expensive if you make too many mistakes! 
  
What was the most challenge piece (either painting or t-shirt) to create and why?
The most challenging part for is perfecting the rough draft and staying patient all throughout the project. I can usually tell early on if something will either take me a single sitting or multiple days or weeks to finish. I think painting is more difficult to tackle because it's a more difficult fix if I mess up a colour I'm going for or if I accidentally smudge the painting. With a shirt, I can usually just peel off the vinyl before any damage gets done.

What can we look forward to seeing from you next?
I think you can look forward to more themed shirts that are inspired heavily by things and places within the Alan Wake universe! The shirts that I've made so far have been interesting conversation starters for people that don't know about or haven't played the game as well. I recently made a '10 year Deerfest Anniversary' shirt for the game's anniversary this year and I was asked where Bright Falls was! I also plan on having more paintings and possibly some short stories as well!

A huge thank you to Adam for taking the time to talk to us! You can follow his work on Instagram at @super_sirius_crafts.



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Beyond the shadow you settle for, there's a miracle illuminated.