Adam Lovitz, 36, has spent a majority of his life painting. So, like any true artist, he has a couple of favorite works.
“Milk Moon Residue” is a lavender, creamy display. Lovitz said it gives him a sweet and tender feeling, like a quiet breath, a moment of purity, a moment of honesty.
“Lunch Break” is the opposite. Lovitz described it as a regurgitation of “a lot of stuff” like veggies, fruit and even what appears to be a lightning bolt. “Lunch Break” represents chaotic busyness, according to the painter.
Together, the paintings show the duality of everyday life, the artist explains.
“A very quiet, distilled moment and a bubbly, oozy, kind of everything moment,” he said.
One might say that Lovitz’s art is imitating life. It’s an effect that the Jewish painter and Media resident aims for every day in his home studio.
“There’s a duality in us all,” Lovitz said.
In the artist’s own life, his studio time is Milk Moon Residue — that moment when he can slow down and appreciate the beauty around him.
But everything else is Lunch Break. A sort of chaotic, busy “everything-ness,” as he describes it.
Like most artists, Lovitz makes time for his studio work every day. But also like most artists, he cannot make a living on his paintings alone.
In addition to shows at Philadelphia galleries like Fleisher/Ollman and Commonweal, the artist works as an adjunct professor at Temple University and Rowan University. Soon, he will start a full-time role as an art teacher at the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr.
Lovitz is married to his high school sweetheart, Emily Lovitz, and they have two sons under 5, Isaiah and Levi. While his wife works as a teacher, Lovitz needs to support their family, too.
But he pledges to never give up his painting, either.
“It’s all out of a sense of love. I’m going to find a way to make this work,” Lovitz said.
Lovitz’s mother, Sandi Lovitz, was also a painter, but she had more of an entrepreneurial spirit, according to the son. She would paint on the canvas, but she would also paint furniture or jewelry.
“I’ll put my creativity anywhere,” Lovitz said, explaining his mother’s philosophy.
The son is different. He prefers the canvas. He became confident on it in high school, and then decided to make it his focus at the University of Delaware.
After college, Lovitz, who grew up and became a bar mitzvah in Havertown, returned to the area to earn his master’s at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Then he lived in South Philadelphia for 10 years and worked at restaurants and bars to make ends meet.
The artist was a night owl, and while he wanted to paint in his studio until 4 a.m., he was often bartending instead. He said his shift to teaching and fatherhood put him on a more normal schedule, which he prefers. He vows to never go back to the serving and bartending life.
Lovitz does sell paintings. But he does not sell enough to live on it as his income for the year.
“Since I’m a dad, I’m a daytime painter. It’s nice to work in the sunlight,” he said. “It’s constantly adapting to new rhythms of life.”
The artist thanks his wife for balancing his chaotic and multi-faceted income with a stable one of her own. But since they are high school sweethearts, Emily Lovitz was always aware of what she was getting into, according to Lovitz. He has warned her that he will never just go sell insurance.
Emily Lovitz, for her part, said her husband’s artistic path never really factored into her decision to be with him.
“He’s my partner. He’s my best friend. So I don’t necessarily think a career will make or break a relationship,” she added.
And their dynamic has clearly worked. Just this year, the couple moved out of the city and into their suburban home. It’s an ideal place for a young family to grow up.
Lovitz didn’t belong to a specific synagogue as a kid, though he celebrated holidays with his family. But the painter and his wife, who grew up Methodist, are starting to look into synagogues so their young sons can attend Hebrew school.
Emily Lovitz thinks the relationship works because, just like their respective careers, her personality is more grounded and Adam’s is more spontaneous.
“I think it’s always just been a good balance,” she said.
The artist is happy with this life. He understands that most of his artist friends can’t make a full-time living with their art, either. So if they want to keep doing it, they have to work other jobs and then make time.
They have to embrace the chaotic busyness. But it’s worth it, Lovitz said. It’s the art, after all, that brings him back to his Milk Moon Residue.
“It’s just something that I always found a sense of, ‘I’m interested in this and I’m going to keep doing it naturally,’” he said. JE