Creating liberty: An Interview with Artist Adam Schwankl

"Kids" by Adam Schwankl

“Kids” by Adam Schwankl

Ideas are the foundation of all things political. But how do we properly unroll our ideas into reality?

Some choose to speak their ideas, some choose to write them, to sing or draw them. And others choose to paint them.

Adam Schwankl, a 24-year-old artist from Bozeman, Mont. chooses to transmit his ideas creatively, using oil and acrylic paints. Schwankl is unique in that he’s a liberty advocate, and at the same time, an artist.

He creates his art based on ideas regarding love, people, liberty, and freedom.

“I’m inspired by the ideas of human freedom, personal liberty, and the foundation of justice that is necessary for love to exist between people,” said Schwankl.

A self-identified anarcho-capitalist, Schwankl does not wholly identify with the term “libertarian”.

“Libertarianism doesn’t go far enough,” Schwankl said. “It’s a good base for justice, but I truly believe that government is a bunch of gangsters who hold a monopoly on force. The only difference between the government and any other criminal institution is that the government is socially condoned.”

"Soldiers" by Adam Schwankl

“Soldiers” by Adam Schwankl

He is concerned that people are often confused about anarcho-capitalist principles. Many people don’t understand that the services we all need and want- roads, schools, transportation-can be offered in a truly free market for cheaper and most likely for higher quality.

“People are confused about what capitalism is. The idea of capitalism and free markets is tarnished because people think that what we have right now is a free market. It’s not! The government has its hands everywhere,” explained Schwankl.

Many libertarians share his ideas, but Schwankl chooses a different route of transmission than most- he paints works of art, like these portraits of Ron Paul and Ludwig von Mises.

As many of you know, it’s hard to be your own boss and perform under your own deadlines. It’s easy to become complacent or lazy. The life of an artist is no different.

“It’s not always fun to create art, especially when I’m not feeling particularly creative. So, it’s important to keep myself in a daily rhythm. I find that when I’m not getting proper nutrition and exercise, my work suffers. I like to get up in the morning, meditate, go for a bike ride, and then bust out my work in the morning,” he said.

Schwankl explained that having structure in your daily life helps to stoke the motivational fire.

Schwankl gives me hope that there are liberty-lovers out there who create beautiful art, transfusing the ideas of freedom and limited government.

For all of you potential artists, starving artists, or successful artists, Schwankl advices you to,  “keep making art. Artists are important, and it’s important to have a message behind your art. I understand the struggle of making a living off creative art, but don’t completely sell out. You must always come back to creating art like money is no object.”

"Shadows" by Adam Schwankl

“Shadows” by Adam Schwankl

Schwankl explained that sometimes he paints subject matter that he doesn’t necessarily feel passionate about, but that he knows will sell. Regardless, he always paints how he wants and only paints in his style, which allows for constant authentic work. He makes sure to balance his work and paint subjects that interest him as well.

He added, “Any painting that I do- in essence- is liberty-themed because it’s my lifestyle. It might not be explicit, but I can’t escape my fundamental beliefs.”

Art is so important. It’s important for life, but also important for libertarians to relay their message to a wider audience. People love art, photos, music, and poetry. When ingesting art, there isn’t the mental labor involved like there is when reading Human Action or Democracy in AmericaMore people are inclined to decipher a piece of art rather than a 1,000-page manuscript.

So, creators and aspiring creators- keep up the work and let’s transmit some ideas into beautiful and digestible works of art!

If you’d like to see more work by Schwankl, you can visit his website.

Adam Schwankl with his portrait of Ron Paul

Adam Schwankl with his portrait of Ron Paul

[Originally published on the Students for Liberty blog]

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