The Country School Alumni Association is delighted to present the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award to Adrien Broom, a renowned contemporary fine art, commercial, and portrait photographer whose imaginative, fantastical, and complex works often allude to childhood while combining elements of photography, painting, set design, and sometimes even film.
As Mila Pantovich wrote in the Huffington Post recently, "There are many different types of artists out there, from photographers and painters to sculptors and filmmakers, and some artists are talented enough that they excel at more than one medium. It's pretty darn amazing, though, when someone has so much creativity spilling from their minds that they do all of it, and that's exactly what Adrien Broom does."
Below, a photo from Adrien's "Being" series, photographed at Wentworth Woodhouse, the largest private home in Britain.
Below, the "Yellow World" from Adrien's "Color Project."
A member of The Country School's class of 1994, Adrien has been telling stories through visual art since she was a child. Her first illustrated book, completed at the age of 10, featured elaborately gowned characters inhabiting other worlds. After graduating from The Country School, Adrien went on to Brewster Academy and then to Northeastern University, where she received her BA in Computer Animation. She continued her studies in the Fine Arts in Italy, followed by Fine and Decorative Art History classes at Christie's in London.
In the ensuing years, motivated by her fascination with the "contrast between adult and childhood imaginations," Adrien continued to develop as a visual storyteller. "I create worlds to tell those stories I need to tell," Adrien says. "I build sets, both life-sized and in miniature, and stage narrative scenes within them. Sometimes I'll create alternate universes from scratch, while other times I'll partner with the beautiful world that already surrounds us."
The result is sometimes dreamy, sometimes haunting, and always compelling, earning her exhibitions at museums and galleries across the globe and reviews in an array of leading publications. In recent years, Adrien's work has been featured at such local institutions as the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme and the Lyman Allyn Museum in New London and further afield at such venues as the Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy and Scope, Art Basel in Switzerland. Her work has been featured in everything from The New York Times to Smithsonian Magazine, from the Boston Globe to W magazine. A few weeks ago, she was the subject of an in-depth interview on WTNH-TV (click here or the photo below to watch video).
"We are thrilled to invite Adrien back to campus to receive this year's Distinguished Alumni Award," said Head of School John Fixx. "For years we have admired her work from a distance, and we are excited to hear how she began her artistic journey and see up close how she engages in the creative process."
The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented annually to an alumnus/a who conveys the essence of The Country School mission in his or her work and/or other endeavors. Among the school's core values are a commitment to honoring the creativity, sense of wonder, and exuberance in childhood while also valuing imagination and diverse ways of thinking.
"If anyone embodies a commitment to honoring the creativity, wonder, and exuberance of childhood while utilizing imagination and diverse ways of thinking, it's Adrien Broom," said Liz Lightfoot '77, P '05, '07, '08, '11, Alumni Relations director. "We hope that we can entice Adrien to spend time in our art studio, either this spring or at a future date, so she and students can collaborate on a storytelling project. I think we will all see that there is a natural synergy between what Adrien does for a living and what takes place every day in the studios, classrooms, and STEAM labs of The Country School."
We look forward to presenting the Distinguished Alumni Award to Adrien on Friday, May 18 at 2 p.m. During that time, members of the Class of 2018 will be inducted into the Alumni Association and the class banner will be unfurled. The ceremony is free and open to the public. For more information about the event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For a list of previous Distinguished Alumni Award winners, click here. For more about Adrien's work, visit www.adrienbroom.com.