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Adam Trest: an artist Q&A | Pro Club Bd

As part of our members-only newsletter, The Exclusive, Mississippi Today caught up with Laurel-based artist Adam Trest. This interview was originally published and shared with members of Mississippi Today on July 27th. Each month we bring our members exclusive interviews and events, like this chat with Ben and Erin Napier, to thank them for supporting our newsroom. Become a member by donating a recurring amount today and be the first to know about our upcoming exclusive interviews and events.

Trest is part of the Mississippi Arts Commission’s Artist Roster, which selects artists from a variety of mediums and helps organizations fund the artists’ presentations through grants. His work can be seen at the Caron Gallery and in a current exhibition at the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience in Meridian, Mississippi.

His unique style caught the attention of many when he starred on HGTV’s “Home Town” with Ben and Erin Napier. Trest recently illustrated a children’s book written by Erin Napier called The Lantern House, which made him a New York Times Bestselling Illustrator.


Tell us about yourself and how you started.

“I started painting before I could write. I can’t remember not doing it. I grew up with parents who recognized my potential in art and made sure I always had what I needed to create. I graduated from Mississippi State University with a BFA in painting in 2009 and have been a professional artist ever since. I am a painter, I work mainly with acrylics and inks.”

Where do you get your inspiration from?

“I find most of my inspiration in life in the south. I love Mississippi’s flora and fauna and I love the storytelling tradition that is so rich in our area. I often refer to my process as “visual storytelling” because I find my work most successful when the viewer can tell me more about my images than even I knew about them.”

How has your Mississippi and Southern heritage influenced your work?

“I love the Mississippi countryside. I just completed a series of paintings for the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience at Meridian (the MAX) celebrating each of Mississippi’s regions. Each painting depicts one of the regions and gives a taste of the plants and animals unique to that area. There are so many wonderful mysteries in our state and I have had such an amazing experience seeking them and telling their stories through my work.”

How do you measure your success and what was the greatest achievement of your career?

“I grew up in a home that celebrated hard work and perseverance. For me, the success I’ve seen has been equal parts hard work and not giving up (my wife would probably say stubbornness). I am extremely goal oriented, so success for me comes when I achieve a goal that I have set for myself. The biggest achievement of my career (and also one of the most challenging projects of my career) was the publication of the children’s book that I had the privilege of illustrating for Erin Napier. Working on a traditionally published children’s book has always been one of my main goals, and seeing it come to fruition, and then also seeing my name on the NYT bestseller list for a few weeks after publication. That was a pretty great time.”

Since it’s featured on hometown and illustrate The Lantern House, how has the increased attention affected your work? Has it changed your approach to your art?

“The attention that came from both Home Town and The Lantern House was pretty amazing. It gave me the opportunity to really immerse myself in the style I was developing. It has enabled me to create work that really inspires me. I wouldn’t say it changed my approach too much, but it gave me a springboard to work on projects that might have been unattainable before. One of these projects is a new line of cement tiles that I have had the privilege of designing, which will be launched later this year.”

What do you hope people think and feel when they see your art?

“My biggest wish for my work is for people to see it and evoke some kind of memory. Because my work is heavily influenced by traditional folk art and nature, I love it when my work serves as an illustration of sorts that brings back a lost memory in the viewer. When someone comes to the Caron Gallery and sees one of my dog ​​pictures, it reminds them of their childhood pet or maybe the first dog they brought home for their children. At this point the painting has taken on a life and story beyond anything I could have hoped for. At this point the image took on a life of its own.”

How has being on the Mississippi Arts Commission Artist List affected your career?

“Absolutely! Being on the artist roster has opened a few doors. Without the artist roster, I would not have gotten the museum exhibition I’m opening at MAX in Meridian on July 26.”

If you had to give one piece of advice to an up-and-coming Mississippi artist, what would it be?

“I would probably encourage them to find their own kind! One of my favorite things about being a Mississippi artist is counting myself among the other artists working in Mississippi today. There are so many wonderful and kind artists in our state and I’ve become a better artist because I know them. A local support system in South Mississippi and also an even larger network at the state level. My experience was one of encouragement and support.”

How can people find your work?

“My original work, as well as prints of my work, can be found at www.adamtrest.com.”


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