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.
Photo and images courtesy of AD Maddox