AD Maddox - The Art of Trout and Fly Fishing - Mountain & Prairie Podcast
AD Maddox is an accomplished artist who creates some of the most spectacular and memorable paintings of trout that I’ve ever seen. Using bright colors and unique perspectives, AD depicts trout and the fly fishing lifestyle in a way that is completely original, yet so authentic you’d be hard-pressed to find an angler who doesn’t love her work. Her art has been featured widely throughout the fishing world, including on the cover of Gray’s Sporting Journal, Patagonia apparel, and even StealthCraft drift boats.
I first encountered AD’s work when I moved to Jackson Hole in the mid-2000s. I’m not an art connoisseur, but I was instantly taken away with how she managed to capture the beauty and realistic details of trout with a contemporary and unconventional style. And just like her work, AD is a one-of-a-kind original—she spent years as a super-competitive athlete, studied exercise physiology in college, taught herself to paint without any formal art education, and rips around backroads on a Ducati motorcycle. Despite a fun-loving and easygoing exterior, she approaches her work with discipline and rigor that seem more fitting for a professional soldier than a professional artist.
Thanks to AD’s outgoing and hilarious personality, we had a very fun and wide-ranging conversation. We chatted about her many years living in Jackson Hole and how the people, landscapes, and natural beauty of that valley influenced her art. We discussed her upbringing and her parents' role in giving her the confidence to pursue art as a full-time career. She also talks in detail about the importance of facing challenges (both in work and life) head-on and proactively, with a positive attitude and relentless work ethic. Whether you’re an artist or not, there are many wise lessons in the conversation that anyone could apply to their work and life.
Thanks to AD for taking the time to chat. So much fun! Hope you enjoy.
2:45 - How AD describes her work
4:30 - Why AD focused on fly fishing as a primary subject
5:50 - Selling her first piece of art
7:20 - Using photos to learn to paint trout
8:45 - How her art has changed over the years
10:30 - Knowing when a painting is truly finished
12:15 - How AD learned the technical aspects of art
14:00 - AD’s artistic influences and mentors
16:00 - Lessons learned from painting mistakes
17:15 - Advantages of not waiting for permission
19:00 - AD’s optimistic attitude
21:00 - The constant quest to reinvent her art
24:00 - Writers/Artist’s block?
26:40 - AD’s early years in athletics
29:00 - Parent’s influence on her confidence
31:20 - Haters: the sign of success
34:00 - How living Jackson Hole shaped her art
35:50 - Importance of schedule, routine, and discipline
41:00 - Discipline versus inspiration
42:20 - Riding motorcycles
43:40 - How motorcycles helped her overcome personal challenges
46:00 - How personal challenges affected her art
50:00 - Favorite books
52:31 - Craziest outdoor experience
54:54 - Favorite place in the West
1:02:13 - Connect with AD online