Adam Bucci is a man who knows something about standing in two different worlds. In fact, it’s been a recurring theme throughout his life.
Born on a military base in Kentucky, the artist and actor grew up in New Jersey. His father’s family was strictly military, and his mother came from a long line of artists and musicians. He says he knew from an early age which path he would follow.
“I was always a visual artist,” Bucci said during our interview for this year’s Horror Pride Month. “I would always turn over a placemat in a restaurant and draw whatever was on the restaurant walls. I was always on that path of being an artist.”
Bucci stayed on that same path right into high school, where he discovered theater.
The painfully shy boy who had been a bit of a loner suddenly blossomed before the footlights and he quickly realized that acting was what truly spoke to him. In fact, it was transformative and when it was time to transition into college life, acting, theater, and dance took up every spare moment of his time.
After graduation, he worked in theater in New York for a while before making the move to Los Angeles as so many actors do. It was an isolating experience for him, and in that isolation, the visual arts crept back into his life.
“It’s a hard city to be in,” he explained. “Art came back as a tool to focus and just put my mind at ease here and there. I started painting again, but not really selling them. I was just stacking them in my closet. It really wasn’t until last year that I worked with someone who was painting on fabric and I thought, ‘I want to try that.’ So I just started kind of taking my love for the horror world and quirky, darker things and experimented with painting on fabrics, jackets, and bags.”
Since that time, his dining room table has become his art studio, and he’s opened up an Etsy shop called Small Town Weirdo to show off and sell his creations. The name was inspired by the idea that weirdos can be heroes, as well, something that really spoke to Bucci on a basic level.
He had always been what he’d considered a “cool loser,” noting that he had lots of friends in school, but no one that would call him up to hang out on the weekends.
As a kid, he’d been fascinated with horror films and books, and he recalls making his mom take him to Blockbuster after school to rent Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Hills Have Eyes, and every other horror movie he could find.
When he was asked to write a story in the third grade, he wrote his own version of Stephen King’s Misery using the names of his classmates complete with graphic illustrations of the action, and he is surprised to this day that his mom and dad were not called in for a parent-teacher conference on that one.
“You always hear the phrase ‘small town hero,'” he said. “I became the ‘small town weirdo.’ I loved the way it rolled off the tongue. It had a double meaning that I could really relate to.”
Coming into his own as an artist and actor was not the only revelation waiting for Bucci in Los Angeles, however. Three years after the move, he met and fell in love with the man of his dreams. It was a shock for the actor, who had previously only dated women.
He was understudying Adam Huss–yes, they’re both named Adam–in a musical and the two found an unexpected and profound connection with each other. That was eight years ago this Summer and the couple married last year.
Together, the couple is also working on creating a werewolf film titled Let it Kill You.
“We’re really proud of it. It’s a dark gritty movie with a lot of heart,” Bucci explained. “It has a gay love story built into it. We want to show people this love story that isn’t like other love stories. We want everyone to see it. We have this amazing werewolf transformation. We’ve already built the suit. It’s 7 feet tall with animatronics in the face and stuff. We’ve been working on this a long time.”
Adam Bucci’s journey to self has been a long one with twists and turns he never could have anticipated, but he says, he’s finally found exactly where he was meant to be.
“I’m becoming more myself; I’m embracing my weirdo,” he said. “I’m confident that I’m a little off center. I used to be afraid that someone would find out. Now I realize, I’m a better actor because of it. I’m a better artist because of it. I’m literally painting jackets on my dining room table. I’m embracing the Small Town Weirdo. I’m proud to be weird. I feel like everything in horror has that weirdness.”
Honestly, that’s a place we’re all trying to find, and more than a few of us in the LGBTQ community have found that space in the love of horror and the strangeness that it brings with it.
To learn more about what he and his partner are working on together, you can find them on their Patreon page. You can view more of Bucci’s designs on his Etsy shop. Every item there is a hand-painted, unique piece of wearable art. You can also find his creations on Threadless where you’ll find options to have a couple of his prints on t-shirts, phone cases, bags, and more so you can embrace the Small Town Weirdo in you.