Art Gallery: Adam Lister

Adam Lister is an exciting artist that is definitely worth paying attention to. You can see more of his work at You can also follow him on Instagram @listergallery. We spoke to the talented creator about his personal style of art, his greatest artistic skill and what he wants to improve on.

When did you become interested in art?

I became seriously interested in making art while I was in high school. I had some really interesting teachers who inspired me to explore visual art as a form of expression as well as a career possibility. When I went to college at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, I really developed a serious passion for art. My school was just a few blocks from the Chelsea neighborhood. With so many of the top galleries right there near me—it was a really intriguing place to be learning and trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I had the chance to work with awesome artists like Marilyn Minter, Michael Goldberg, Lucio Pozzi and a bunch more.

Was art something that always came easy to you?

Not really. It’s always a struggle of some sort. When I was younger I tried as hard as I could to make “realistic” art. I felt that I had to get good at that kind of art before I did other things. Gradually I felt less and less of a connection to old ideas about art creation and turned to experimenting with different things. I did a lot of abstract painting and a lot of site-specific sculptural work. I was just trying different things and trying to find out what worked and what didn’t.

How would you describe your personal style of art? 

The type of work I’m doing right now is sort of a combination of geometric abstraction, reductive painting and puzzle making. I like the idea of making images that have a collective familiarity. For me, it’s special to have my work connect with a wide audience. I want people to “get it”.

What kinds of things inspire you and your work? 

So many things inspire me. I’m a huge art history nerd, so I draw inspiration from classic works of art. I also love old school digital graphics, superheroes, anything 1980s, pop culture, movies, books, television and video games.

What do you believe to be your greatest skill as an artist? 

I guess it would have to be my years of experience with watercolor paints. When I was 13 years old my mom enrolled me in a watercolor class for adults and I struggled through using a very tough, hard to control medium. I wanted to get control of it and feel as comfortable with painting watercolor as I did with writing with a pencil.

What aspects of your craft do you feel still need the most work?

I would like to get more into really large work. I’ve made a couple 9×12 foot paintings and few 8×8 footers. But, I’d like to really get into some giant pieces soon.

How long do you usually take to complete an individual piece of art, from concept to completion?

It all depends on the image I’m working with, some can take one day and some can take weeks. I always start with a pencil drawing, sometimes I have to rework the initial drawing several times before I begin painting. Sometimes it just clicks right away. It’s always different.

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