Clubhouse Requiem and Graphic Designs by Adam Rodriguez

July 14 - August 18, 2013

You’ve probably seen Adam Rodriguez’s art, without knowing it. As a professional artist with the New York-based graphic design firm Success Apparel, he’s created designs for some of the most recognizable brands in the world, including John Deere Apparel, Dickies and Yo Gabba Gabba.

In his own freelance business, Adam is also the artist behind the iconic t-shirt designs sported by the Hoboken Motorcycle Club, whose members also sell them at city festivals. The t-shirts commemorate the group’s legendary parties. If you’ve been privileged to attend an HMC party at the clubhouse, located just south of Hoboken, he painted three of the interior walls with bright orange flames in a muscular style (also seen on the cover of hMAG last year in a feature on the HMC).

“I hope to finish the fourth wall someday,” Adam says, “but it’s behind the bar, which is pretty well-stocked. It would take a lot of work to clear that area for painting.”

A selection of his HMC t-shirt designs were on display July 14 – August 18, 2013 in the Upper Gallery at the Museum, around the centerpiece of the exhibit: “Clubhouse Requiem,” a large group portrait depicting about 40 HMC members—past and present.

“Clubhouse Requiem” is a modern take on Rembrandt’s “Night Watch,” which was commissioned in 1642 by a private Dutch militia to commemorate its band of brothers, full of symbols important to the members of the militia. Though Adam is quick to point out he’s not comparing his work with the Dutch master’s, the motivation for the mural is similar – to portray the collective and individual spirit of a close-knit group of men united by a mission.

The mural, roughly 20” x 30” wide, shows all the current members of the HMC standing in front of their respective bikes, with a representation of the club and notable landmarks of the Hoboken skyline in the background. Stylistically, Adam cites the painter Joe Coleman as his inspiration for the level of detail and vividness of his work.

He describes the project as an endeavor to “memorialize the current, and some past members, of the Hoboken Motorcycle Club.” He adds, “By virtue of their fierce individualism, motorcycle clubs are similar to the Northern European Crusaders of the Medieval period, having traded horses for motorcycles, mead for Michelob, and Renaissance fairs for Road Rallies.”

Adam is not a member of the club, but he admires the members’ rebel spirit and blue-collar roots. He’s a Northern New Jersey native, who visited Hoboken frequently as a boy. His father was also an artist, and ran a graphic design studio that did a lot of work for Madison Avenue advertising agencies. Adam worked there for a while, after earning a degree in illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design and taking academic courses at Brown University. He didn’t care for some aspects of the agency business, so he spent about a decade as a union carpenter and a teamster, working at heights on skyscrapers, and underground on the Lincoln and Holland Tunnel. Though he works in New York City, Rodriguez lives in Stroudsburg, PA, with his wife and five children.

This exhibition was made possible by a Block Grant from the State/County Partnership program for the Arts administered by the Hudson County Division of Cultural and Heritage Affairs/Tourism Development, Thomas A. DeGise, County Executive, and the Board of Chosen Freeholders.