Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.
He's young, but he's already got the critics raving. Adam A. Anderson is one of the rising talents in the Dallas theater world. He's won the DFW Theater Critics Forum Award for best actor and widespread accolades for his performances in plays like Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and The Brothers Size.
An SMU graduate, he spends his days as the graphic designer for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and his nights in rehearsals or running his creative company, The Striped Heart (formerly known as SiHK). We're not exactly sure how he fits it all into a seven-day week, but he's making it work and he's doing it well.
What has the transition from college to the life of professional acting been like? I've been fortunate enough to get a job doing what I love full-time. Around graduation time seniors start reflecting on all of their past decisions and whether they made the right choices, or picked the right major. Questions arise like, "What are you going to do?" or "Are you ready?". I was always quick to reply, "I'll be fine. I'm so ready to be done with school!" I always said that things in my professional life would be no different from my educational life: where I spent countless hours in class, late night hours in rehearsal, and whatever extra time I had to freelance and do personal projects. My life now is literally an advanced version of that. The major difference now is that I get paid for doing all three. Creativity is my passion and the fact that I can live off of acting and designing is a true blessing.
Five words to describe yourself. Sarcastic, Weird, Eclectic, Loyal, Persistent
What's kept you in Dallas? I get asked this question a lot. Mostly when I tell people that I'm an actor. "Don't you think you should be in LA?" they say. And my honest answer is both definite and indefinite. I definitely know that there is huge potential here in Dallas. I have so much faith in this city and I would be so upset if I left and it blew up without me being a part of that uprising. But what this city lacks is personal identity and exposure. What is the look of Dallas? What is the vibe of Dallas? What is the sound of Dallas? The main attractions? Some have their ideas but can't truly label it, especially if you've never been to Dallas. So It is difficult to "blow up" in Dallas because Dallas has no voice of its own, no vibe. I'm definitely here because I want to create a reason for people to stay. I'm indefinitely here because I'm complacent and comfortably making a living, I'm not sure if moving is the right choice, and I've been easily getting recognized for my skills as a designer and actor. I'm in first place on BroadwayWorld.com for Best Actor of the year in Dallas. I think it would be years into my career before I even booked a role that would grant me the potential of being "Best Actor" if I moved straight to New York. But maybe I'm wrong... who knows?
Describe SiHK for us. SIHK is my number one passion and personal mission. SiHK is now called "The Striped Heart". SIHK is an acronym for the Society of Individuality Honor and Knowledge which is at the crux of our mission but we felt that we identify more with our logo (The Striped Heart AKA The Heart of Art) and we wanted our audiences to share that passion. The Striped Heart is a creative agency that focuses primarily on design and aesthetic. We have a wide range of clientele, but we've worked mainly with the visual and performing arts. Our goal is to capture the essence of your vision and create compelling designs that will engage your audience. Our motto is "We want to create with you," and thats how we view every idea whether big or small: as a collaborative process with our clients. We have had a hand in helping to develop many types of projects whether it was producing an entire theatrical play, hosting an event or merely designing the publications. Regardless, we love art in all of its forms. We believe that all humans are artists and we aim to spread creativity throughout the world.
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You're obviously multi-talented with both acting and graphic design on your résumé, do you have other artistic talents up your sleeve? Hmmm.... carpentry, drawing, photography, cinematography. Honestly if it involves creativity to some degree, I have my hands in it. I have an artistic vision, the art form is just the medium. But I love to produce music! I've been really wanting to create a following with my music but right now it seems to be something I only do for fun because I don't know how to get started professionally. Although I have been fortunate enough to travel the nation with my spoken word performances. So yes I'm also a spoken word artist and lyricist, but I would really just call it theatrically acting to a strict rhythm.
What's your dream role? In real life, I'm known to be a really nice guy, so I typically like to play the complex antagonistic roles. Oh my god, how amazing it would be to play a major villain like the Joker in The Dark Knight! I often get compared to Will Smith and he always saves the world in his movies which I wouldn't mind, or even to play his son and be Jaden's brother since he's first pick. But it would be so cool if I got to play an antihero like Kratos from "God of War". My favorite role to play was Levee Green in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." He's a lead role but the character has a lot of demons that you watch him deal with. I don't have a very dark past or anything like that. I'm very transparent. You can pretty much google Adam A. Anderson and learn everything there is to know about me, so for me it's cool to analyze the psychology in the darker characters that I've played.
If someone asked you to explain the good and the bad of Dallas theater what would you say? I suppose I pretty much answered this in the Dallas question. The great thing about Dallas theater is that there is opportunity for young and talented actors to shine and grow. There's so much potential for a "green" artist to do great work if they're talented. The market isn't as dense as in other cities so there is less competition. If you go to see Dallas theater, chances are you'll see a young actor in their first professional production and you'll be like, "She's so good! Why isn't she famous!?" It's great because in other cities you'll have young artists spending years auditioning trying to get their "big break" and it doesn't come until they're older. It is a lot easier to be the recognized here because it's not as saturated so you're more likely to see fresh, new work. The lack of saturation is the same reason Dallas theater can be not so good. No one is looking at Dallas for a reason. Why would their be any talent in Dallas? Better off spending time in New York or LA, right? Not true. Some of the best work I've seen has been in Dallas. But the doldrum is so bad that Dallas doesn't even look at itself for talent and inspiration and creativity. Regional theaters in Dallas will first look to New York for hiring lead actors before looking to Dallas. As a result everyone is leaving Dallas to find opportunity and it's a vicious cycle. I bet if I moved to New York, I'd get cast as a lead in Dallas and they'd fly me back. It's sad but true.
100 Creatives: 100. Theater Mastermind Matt Posey 99. Comedy Queen Amanda Austin 98. Deep Ellum Enterpriser Brandon Castillo 97. Humanitarian Artist Willie Baronet 96. Funny Man Paul Varghese 95. Painting Provocateur Art Peña 94. Magic Man Trigg Watson 93. Enigmatic Musician George Quartz 92. Artistic Luminary Joshua King 91. Inventive Director Rene Moreno 90. Color Mavens Marianne Newsom and Sunny Sliger 89. Literary Lion Thea Temple 88. Movie Maestro Eric Steele 87. Storytelling Dynamo Nicole Stewart 86. Collaborative Artist Ryder Richards 85. Party Planning Print maker Raymond Butler 84. Avant-gardist Publisher Javier Valadez 83. Movie Nerd James Wallace 82. Artistic Tastemakers Elissa & Erin Stafford 81. Pioneering Arts Advocates Mark Lowry & Michael Warner 80. Imaginative Director Jeremy Bartel 79. Behind-the-Scenes Teacher Rachel Hull 78. Kaleidoscopic Artist Taylor "Effin" Cleveland 77. Filmmaker & Environmentalist Michael Cain 76. Music Activist Salim Nourallah 75. Underground Entrepreneur Daniel Yanez 74. Original Talent Celia Eberle 73. Comic Artist Aaron Aryanpur 72. Classical Thespian Raphael Parry 71. Dance Captain Valerie Shelton Tabor 70. Underground Culture Mainstay Karen X. Minzer 69. Effervescent Gallerist Brandy Michele Adams 68. Birthday Party Enthusiast Paige Chenault 67. Community Architect Monica Diodati 66. Intrepid Publisher Will Evans 65. Writerly Wit Noa Gavin 64. Maverick Artist Roberto Munguia 63. Fresh Perspective Kelsey Leigh Ervi 62. Virtuosic Violinist Nathan Olson 61. Open Classical's Dynamic Duo Mark Landson & Patricia Yakesch 60. Rising Talent Michelle Rawlings 59. Adventurous Filmmaker Toby Halbrooks 58. Man of Mystery Edward Ruiz 57. Inquisitive Sculptor Val Curry 56. Offbeat Intellect Thomas Riccio 55. Doers and Makers Shannon Driscoll & Kayli House Cusick 54. Performance Pioneer Katherine Owens 53. Experimental Filmmaker and Video Artist Mike Morris 52. Flowering Fashioner Lucy Dang 51. Insightful Artist Stephen Lapthisophon 50. Dallas Arts District 49. Farmer's Market Localvore Sarah Perry 48. Technological Painter John Pomara 47. Progressive Playmakers Christopher Carlos & Tina Parker 46. Purposive Chef Chad Houser 45. Absorbing Artist Jeff Gibbons 44. Artistic Integrator Erica Felicella 43. Multi-talented Director Tre Garrett 42. Anachronistic Musician Matt Tolentino 41. Emerging Veteran Actor Van Quattro 40. Festival Orchestrator Anna Sophia van Zweden 39. Literary Framer Karen Weiner 38. Man Behind the Music Gavin Mulloy 37. The Godfather of Dallas Art Frank Campagna