A Modern Walter Anderson

A Modern Walter Anderson
Words by Grace Cope
Photos provided by the Caron Gallery

Artist and small business owner Adam Trest had been dreaming of big cities after college–– until he discovered that the perfect home for his art was actually the place he grew up—Laurel, Mississippi.

After graduating from Mississippi State University with a degree in fine arts and an emphasis in painting, he returned to Laurel unexpectedly to help other artistic locals transform the small town into a creative hub. Inspired by the South and its plant and animal life, Adam uses watercolor to create masterful pieces, all featured in his Laurel-based shop. As demand for his art grew, he began making it available at more locations, including the Caron Gallery in Tupelo, Mississippi.

In a recent blog post for Laurel Mercantile, Adam described the immense support the community in Laurel has provided since he returned to share his art. “These people were not only encouraging with their words, but supportive with their actions. They chose to support our dream,” wrote Adam.

The support from his community only further inspired Adam to create his unique art. By using watercolor as his medium, Adam learned to embrace the risk that paint splatters and bleeds are guaranteed in his pieces, while also keeping the patterns structured and simple.

His work is recognizable––nearly every piece has bold black lines that define the shape of the picture, contrasting with the diluted, watercolor paint that stains the paper. Filled with cool tones of blue and green, each piece typically features either an animal or type of plant––something inspired by the biodiversity of the South.

While Adam’s work is truly one-of-a-kind, he is proud to be compared to one of his idols––fellow Mississippian, Walter Anderson. In a blog post by the Caron Gallery, Adam talks about how much Walter influenced his work, ever since he was a child, when he noticed one of his pieces while on a field trip to an art museum. His teacher taught him all about Walter, his motifs, style, and language.

“It was in that time that I also fell in love with lines, patterns, and the beauty of simplicity,” said Adam. “Walter explored those lines through block prints, but I found my adventure in a bottle of ink and a brush.”

Though his fascination with Walter Anderson started years before he began a career in art, his studies and devotion to learning about other artists would eventually propel him into finding his own style, creating pieces of work that, while are inspired by his own life and other styles, are completely one-of-a-kind. Adam, a true treasure for Laurel, Mississippi, has the unique ability to encapsulate Southern culture and the beauty of nature’s plants and animals all in just a few skillful brushstrokes.

You can find Adam’s work featured in the Caron Gallery, an art gallery representing and showcasing talented Mississippi artists. His current Caron Gallery collection includes a beautiful series of blue and white pieces, as well as more colorful ones. You can view them at https://thecarongallery.com/Artist/adam-trest/