Jason Adkins’ P3 residency invites you to paint with the artist

Brushing with swift movements, Artist Jason Adkins creates a large-scale, abstract painting while working in P3Studio during his in-house residency at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Friday, January 11, 2013.
Mona Shield Payne

The Details

Jason Adkins
Through February 10, Wednesday–Sunday, 6-11 p.m.
Cosmopolitan’s P3 Studio, 698-7000
Alexandra Gutierrez, 23, and Shanna Rosing, 22, work on painted squares.

Alexandra Gutierrez, 23, and Shanna Rosing, 22, work on painted squares.

A painted portrait of Nick Nolte’s 2002 DUI mug shot hangs on the wall of Cosmopolitan’s P3 Studio. His greasy, shabby hair juts outward and his Hawaiian shirt, buttoned to the neck, is unforgivably loud. The portrait was made by tourists and locals who’d strolled into P3 and wound up seated around a cloth-covered table, brush in hand, mixing paints and sipping cocktails, using 1-inch-by-1-inch squares from a cut-up photo as guides to create the mosaic-style Nolte.

One could read into this many ways. You could imagine that the painting plays on the idea of celebrity created by the masses. Or that it’s a meaningfully communal way to piece together a broken man. Or that it’s just funny and visually alluring, a sadly iconic image proclaiming that painting can be fun and relevant.

Try the latter, regard it as Art 101 at the Cosmo starring Las Vegas artist Jason Adkins as the facilitator, and you pretty much have the gist of Adkins’ five-week artist residency, which continues through February 10, culminating in more than a dozen community-style paintings of pop-culture images, photos of artwork and portraits of artists and celebrities.

Adkins is this year’s first artist in P3, following the recent lineup of Sush Machida, the Bumbys, Eloise Fornieles and Ellen Harvey. As with anyone doing a residency, it must be interactive and inclusive. “Originally I wanted to do a painting class with visiting painters taking the work home, but we figured that would take too long,” says Adkins, who works on his own abstract wet-on-wet oil paintings in conjunction with the collaborative project.

It’s all part of engaging guests using art, whether performance or installation, in which storytelling, note making or physical participation is key to each residency, orchestrated by the Cosmo and New York’s Art Production Fund. Machida served tea. Fornieles sat in a boat on a sea of pennies and accepted notes from visitors who’d written down their hopes and fears. The Bumbys (in a return P3 engagement) assessed appearances and fashion. Harvey made bronze good luck charms guests could take in exchange for their own good luck pieces.

Artist Jason Adkins features and his abstract paintings created in P3 Studio.

Artist Jason Adkins features and his abstract paintings created in P3 Studio.

Now with Adkins, a Las Vegas artist represented by Western Project, guests are painting, whether they believe they can or not, leaving a part of themselves in works of community art hanging on a gallery wall in a Las Vegas casino. Following Nolte was a portrait of artist Chuck Close, cut into squares and kept in a plastic bag in Adkins’ pocket.

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