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Interview with Kristian Adam about Choco's Christmas Clubhouse

We are big fans of Canadian painter Kristian Adam's artwork here at Artifact Puzzles. So this year we commissioned him to paint a new Christmas painting that we turned into...

We are big fans of Canadian painter Kristian Adam's artwork here at Artifact Puzzles.

So this year we commissioned him to paint a new Christmas painting that we turned into a 12 day advent calendar puzzle.

We're keeping the full image a secret and just showing you this little crop, but here's a deep-dive interview with Kristian about this painting and his art.

Q: The longer title for the 12 Day Advent Calendar painting is Choco's Christmas Clubhouse. Which character in the painting is Choco, and can you tell us more about him?

Choco is the black-haired creature with the peppermint mug who could use a haircut (pictured above).

His favourite food is chocolate because he is allergic to everything else.

His Uncle Jingles built this cabin years ago to get away from the city hustle and enjoy a more bucolic lifestyle.

Christmas has always been Choco’s favourite time of year. He recently sold all his Peppermint Candy Coin and was able to retire at the age of 11. So he’s throwing a big party at his Uncles place this year and all the presents are on him! He says to come on down anytime!! There will be Belgian hot coco on tap 24/7 and a life size Cadbury Chocolate Santa Claus to share / nibble.

Q: Any other favorite characters you put in this painting you'd like to tell us about?

Jingles is Choco’s Uncle. He’s a serious coffee junkie, no joke. Choco even calls him Junkle:

When he’s not in his rocking chair slurping the black bean he’s making snow angels in the middle of the night. He’ll do this for hours before he finally gets tired and passes out in the snow. But only for 10 minutes or so. Then he’s up and at ‘em doing renovations on the cabin while he sleepwalks.

Q: Any favorite holiday traditions or stories you'd like to share?

I can remember many great stories being a kid at Christmas. One in particular that solidified Santa as a magical character to me happened in preschool. I can remember back to when I was 4 and the school had organized a guest appearance from Santa.

I was super excited of course and a little nervous to meet him. When he asked me what I wanted for Christmas I said a Starwars toy. My parents had taken me to see Return of the Jedi and I loved it so that is what I wanted. Simple.

So like magic he pulls out a Darth Vader stamp from his bag and hands it to
me. I was basically in shock and I believed in Santa full-tilt after that. The secrets of Santa’s skills were exposed many years later to me as I became much less gullible by the age of 10.

The magic of all those early Christmas years simply can’t be beat and I derive a lot of inspiration for my paintings from childhood nostalgia.

Q: Your artwork has evolved a bit from more interesting-angsty to more cute-beautiful over the last 10 years, what's been driving that change, and how much of your choice of subject is commission-driven (like this painting) vs "I need to paint this"?

The content was still amusing and whimsical back then but maybe a bit more surreal. I was in a different mood. I was pouring over Dali’s work every night and was influenced by his paintings quite a bit. 

Initially I think I was so excited to express all the weird things in my imagination that I was combining it all into those early pieces. I also went through a phase of working in black and white and monochromatic painting which could’ve made them look more ‘angsty’ like you


The paintings now are much brighter, cheerful and cute and just reflect the state I want to be in. I feel they have a more calming effect on me.

The commissions I do for clients are pretty open in terms of how much creative license I am afforded. I stick to my style for the most part so what you see is what you get. I find the pieces always turn out better and I get more excited when the client gives me as little direction as possible. A loose sense of some narrative is all that’s needed.

Most of the subject matter comes from the ‘need to paint’ vs chasing a
‘sellable idea’. It’s more important to me that I am happy creating something versus chasing money. That being said, if I am doing a commission I take it very seriously. I like to keep my clients happy too! I always aim to get the best of both worlds.

Q: Can you share anything about the business of being a professional artist? 

It took a while for me to build enough confidence to survive solely on my art. I’ve had hundreds of group exhibitions and a dozen solo shows. You naturally grow into it I’d say and no school can prepare you for it.


Post secondary institutions I attended weren’t very optimistic about
students becoming professional artists from my experience. They would throw out demoralizing statistics at us of how few artists get to do what they love to do. Then there is the classic stereotype of a ‘starving artist’. It’s the first stigma I had to mentally break.


I love making art but you do have to treat it like you would any job if you want it as a profession. When I first started oil painting for galleries I was putting in really long hours. 18 hour days, weeks on end for years.

But I loved it. When you really love something you’ll put the work in. I’ve never really taken a proper vacation as I feel very content just staying home and making art or going for a bike ride. As far back as I can remember I was like this. I am most relaxed when I am creating. It’s very meditative and healing. I’ve been living entirely off my art income now for around 18 years.

Some years the stores and galleries do really well with my merchandise and artwork. Then some years I do better with original commissions and online sales.

Although I tend to exclusively paint original works now I have also done a variety of other art related jobs over the years including graphic design and illustration, live painting, movie and television set pieces, magazine / book illustrations and private art lessons. I think it’s important for artists and anyone in general to have multiple revenue streams and not rely on one single source of income. It’s a combination of all of the above which has been effective for me.

Q: Apart from the other charming Kristian Adam puzzles we make, where's the best place for people to find more of your cheery artwork?

The best place to see and shop for work is through my online store via my website at I also post most new works and availability through my Instagram account @kristianadamart or Facebook @Kristian.D.Adam

Thanks Kristian!

More Kristian Adam News: we'll have a new 200-ish piece Kristian Adam puzzle out winter 2024 - check for it here Kristian Adam puzzles in a couple of months.

2 comments on Interview with Kristian Adam about Choco's Christmas Clubhouse
  • Hronir Jones
    Hronir JonesDecember 04, 2023

    Great interview! In this era of AI generated BS, I like how this company connects us to real people doing real hard stuff. But, complaint on the new website – I was writing this comment and I scrolled-up to check something, and by the time I scrolled down the brilliant comments I’d written had disappeared! Your loss!

  • Puzzlemom
    PuzzlemomDecember 02, 2023

    It was so interesting to read this interview with Kristian Adam and learn more about him as a person. We just love the puzzles which are created using the artworks of Kristian Adam. The little critters he draws are so cute and lovable. I really love his painting that he is standing next to in the picture used for the interview.
    I’m really looking forward to working the new 12 day Christmas Clubhouse advent calendar puzzle. So then on each day I can see new little critters revealed, and finally on the 12th day the entire picture and puzzle design will be revealed!

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