Portrait painter from New York leaves impression on local art scene

PAA Artist-in-Residence Adam Carlson from Brooklyn, New York, conducted drawing and painting demos for students at Paducah School of Art and Design.

Contributed photo

The Paducah Arts Alliance has announced that visual artist and teacher Adam Carlson of Brooklyn, New York, was the recent participant in the Paducah Artist-In-Residence Program.

Carlson arrived in Paducah with canvas and paints on April 16 and set up his studio with PAA board member and former classmate John Romang for his two-week residency.

Artists participating in PAA's residency program are required to engage with the community through exhibitions, workshops, public lectures or collaborative projects with local artists. During his residency, Carlson devoted his time interacting with students at the Paducah School of Art and Design and Paducah Tilghman High School, conducting drawing and painting demos, sharing best practices skills for professional artists and providing critiques on student work.

He viewed the displays at the American Quilter's Society's QuiltWeek and The National Quilt Museum and connected with various artists from Paducah and abroad. The remainder of his time was consumed preparing for an upcoming solo exhibit at Apartment Earth Gallery in Charleston, West Virginia.

Carlson attended The Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, where he was classically trained in traditional media. He is known for his stunning portraits and ability to tell a story with paint as he captures the emotion of his subjects. He has been featured in art publications such as L Magazine and CYMK, and online at CriminalElement.com and Tor.com. His work was recently featured in a solo exhibition at StudioMars in Paducah's Lower Town Arts District.

Though Carlson is no stranger to Paducah, the residency was his first opportunity to be immersed in the community.

"I saw and experienced so much here in my short stay," Carlson said. "… From an impressive fire burning kiln, amazingly intricate quilts, incredible studios, a beautiful art school, high school classrooms, to even a beautifully designed boutique cookie dough shop I found down the block."

Carlson said the one characteristic that continued to resonate with him was Paducah's welcoming spirit.

"All these things were great to see, but the people behind them is where the real magic lies," he said. "The spirit of making is powerful here and it is absolutely infectious. I will be returning to New York with this awakened thrill to create and a new hunger to inspire as these amazing artists here have done for me these past couple weeks. I will always treasure this experience and these amazing new friends I made."

John Romang, high school art teacher, introduced Carlson to Paducah's established and aspiring artists.

"It is always great for students to meet artists, but it's really beneficial when the artists interact with the students," Romang said. "The students were intrigued with his demos and his quick instructional lessons. They walked away having information and an experience they should carry on with them through their art careers."

Randy Simmons' Drawing 2 class at PSAD gained insight on technique from Carlson.

"We are in the life drawing component of the course and Adam did demos in gesture, 10-minute studies, and a portrait demo for the course," Simmons said. "It was great having him working in charcoal and using the toned paper process like I do.

"His painterly approach to drawing struck a chord with the students, as it was a different way for some of them to work." Carlson also demonstrated his painting technique for Tanya Gadbaw-Neitzke's students at PSAD.

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