Interview with Adee Roberson
by Sarah Gottesdiener·
Adee Roberson is the type of person you always want to watch, as whatever it is she's doing, it will be brilliant. I first saw her performing in her band New Bloods—probably the best band to come out of Portland, Oregon in the last ten years. When I came across her artwork I was similarly blown away. She is also a curator and collaborator in Black Salt Collective. (Along with other amazing artists Sarah Biscarra Dilley, Grace Rosario Perkins, Anna Luisa Petrisko.)
Adee is also a bodyworker, DJ, and teacher. She currently makes music under the name Tropic Green. Adee wrote an piece in the Many Moons Workbook about working with the Dark Moon.
I interviewed her below.
You do a lot of things. You are an artist, a body worker, a musician, a DJ, a teacher, and act also as organizer and curator with the other visionaries of the Black Salt Collective. Does this all feel very natural to you? Has there been a time in your life where you just tried to do one thing?
It feels natural for me to do the most. I am a Cancer, Pisces moon, with a Capricorn rising. Therefore I am really grounded by working on my creative practice and life’s work. I have a lot of emotions that need to be healed and released through various forms of art and practice. Sometimes I oscillate between focusing on visual art for a few years, then focusing on music for a couple of years, but as a whole, those parts of my practice are always in conversation with each other. Like I will screen print all of my record covers, or have one of my paintings in my massage studio. For me, connecting of these feels not only healing, but necessary and holistic.
You've lived all over the USA: Florida, New Orleans, Portland, Oakland, and now Los Angeles. Do you ever miss all the other places with their unique people and ways of being? How do you work with the specific energies of a place and stay grounded in the present?
I move a lot, for a while I thought I was escaping something. Then I realized that movement is how I learn. I'm self-taught in my art and music. So living in so many different landscapes and environments has really informed my work. I also think a lot about being a part of the African diaspora, this constant search for home because my ancestors were stolen from their home. I’ve come to realize that my home is in my heart, and my heart is oceanic, so I live and love a lot of places! Though, I spend a lot of time missing New Orleans, the angel oak trees and the smell of magnolia, and the kindest, most generous people and city I’ve ever lived in. The last time I was there I taught two high school classes, DJ'd and performed. When I am there I try to ground myself in working as well. That city has so generously fed my spiritual and creative practice, I love leaving flowers in my favorites spots there and singing songs as offerings.
What is an important tip for empaths and other sensitive people reading this?
Boundaries! Boundaries are love. Space and time heal. Rest is essential.
Adee's work installed.
Your piece for Many Moons is about working art and altars as portals for emotional places, spaces and release. What is a non-negotiable release practice you utilize frequently?
Self care, I receive a lot of somatic work, like bodywork, and acupuncture. I also swim and hike a lot. I think moving the body and physically nurturing the body is really the ultimate release for me. Mostly because it feels so instant. Like after swimming laps or receiving acupuncture I immediately feel rejuvenated, and I have less anxiety, and more clarity. Which leads me to have the mental space and energy to make work, and to create intentional space to heal and release old wounds.
What is your current favorite time of the month? What do you do around that that makes it so?
The new moon! I love setting intentions for growth. Getting myself flowers, going to the spa, and/or going on a rigorous hike with a view for perspective. It’s a good time to count my blessings and honor how far I’ve come.
Adee's Maternal grandparents Patrica and Roosevelt Green.
What was your experience writing for the book, what do you hope that readers take away from this project, or your piece?
It was a good practice in writing for me. I actually love writing, but I’m secretive about it. It gives me anxiety to think of something I said being “written in stone”, because I feel like I am always growing and changing. But then I think there is something also of magical importance that writing does. Like a photo, it is an archive of feelings of sorts. So I appreciate getting the opportunity to exercise that, and to get perspective on my own rituals and practices. It was actually perfect timing for me to write about the Dark Moon, because it helped me to look at how I avoid working with my shadow self. I hope that whoever reads my piece feels empowered to really set intentional time and space for their own healing.
Name one thing: writer/poet/singer/park/theory/hair product etc. that you are super jazzed on at the moment.
Photographer and visual narrator, Texas Isaiah from Brooklyn. His work is radiant, in the sense that he creates space, and captures vulnerability and the raw subtlety of a person’s spirit through his photography. He is my friend, so I feel lucky to catch glimpses of his process around his work. I am deeply inspired by his dedication in creating an extensive archive of Black people, in all our brilliance.
Photograph of Adee by Texas Isaiah.
See more of Adee's work here.
Pre-order Many Moons here.