Adam Lister/ Adam Lister

United States 1978

Painting, Prints

Adam Lister
Adam Lister
United States

Adam Lister is an American artist, born in 1978, in Fairfax, Virginia. He is known for exploring pop culture and art history through creating pixelated images of famous paintings, inspired by his love for the 8-bit graphics of the Atari and Nintendo game consoles.

Lister went to School of Visual Arts in New York, and obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2003. Since then, he has exhibited his works in numerous exhibitions throughout the United States, but also in the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Adam’s biggest supporter is his family – his wife and son, who inspire him to work hard.

Adam Lister - The Godfather (Left) / The Joker (Right) adamlistergallery watercolors search
Adam Lister – The Godfather (Left) / The Joker (Right)

Amazing Pixelated Watercolour Paintings by Adam Lister

Adam Lister combines the deconstructed and minimal aesthetic of old-school video games with famous artworks, such as the Mona Lisa and pop-culture characters, such as Batman or the Simpsons.

His engaging visual compositions are inspired by the 8-bit games he used to play in his childhood. Using the principle of pixelated images as a guideline, he juxtaposes Cubism with the school pastime, in order to break down, rearrange and reference iconic images. Lister explores the connection between past and contemporary modes of representations, thus creating paintings and prints that possess both the hard edge geometry of old-school video games and the softness of watercolor paintings.

His works provoke the sense of bittersweet nostalgia, as our favorite childhood characters, the artworks we learned about in school and video games are all fused together. Adam Lister also produces textured sandstone sculptures of the same images, with the help of 3-d printers and the painter and designer Isaac Budmen.

Recent Work by Lister

Adam Lister - Tony Stark - 2015 (Left) / The Hulk - 2015 (Right) search adamlistergallery like
Adam Lister – Tony Stark – 2015 (Left) / The Hulk – 2015 (Right)

The Characters

Lister’s images are either taken from the pages of a comic book, the walls of the Louvre, or a Holywood blockbuster poster. In his works you can see both the worlds of Star Wars characters, Alice in Wonderland, Iron Man or Harry Potter, and the renowned art pieces such as Dali‘s The Persistence of Memory, Munch’s Scream or Van Gogh’s self-portrait.

Pixelated Images of Famous Paintings

Adam Lister - Van Gogh s Self Portrait (Left) / Girl with a Pearl Earring - 2014 (Right) search bit
Adam Lister – Van Gogh s Self Portrait (Left) / Girl with a Pearl Earring – 2014 (Right)

The Process

From Round to Squared

Lister begins his work with a recognizable image, such as Wonder Woman or Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss, and then turns it into a bunch of angles, by drawing with a pencil and building the initial sketch into a completely angular and geometric representation of the subject. He uses only vertical and horizontal lines, so that a circle becomes a square, and a diagonal turns into a staircase.

Sometimes, there are images which just cannot be translated as well as others and require a lot of work. Although pixelated and lacking details, the familiar images are still very recognizable. The flatness of watercolor is perfectly fused with digital aesthetic.

Adam Lister - The Last Supper adamlistergallery like design
Adam Lister – The Last Supper

Lister’s Exhibitions

Vertical Gallery Representation

Lister has been exhibiting his works since 2003, mostly in his home country. The long list of venues where the visitors could see his nostalgia-evoking and heart-warming paintings include Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, USA; Catalyst Gallery, Beacon, NY; Kunstlerhaus Dosenfabrik in Hamburg, Germany; The Gallery On The Corner in London, UK; Dalet Gallery, Philadelphia PA and Shooting Gallery in San Francisco, USA. One of his latest solo shows Wet Geometry was held at Shooting Gallery in San Francisco, CA in 2014.

He is represented by Vertical Gallery in Chicago, Illinois. In March 2015 his work was included in group show Heroes & Villains at the gallery located in Chicago.

Adam Lister works and lives in Beacon, New York.

All images copyright © the artist

YearExhibition TitleMuseum/GallerySolo/Group
2015ElucidationWhite Walls Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2015Bad DadsJoseph Gross Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2015The Color of StrangenessSpoke Art, San Francisco, CAGroup
2015Heroes & VilliansVertical Gallery, Chicago, ILGroup
201512 year Anniversary ExhibitWhite Walls Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2015Coffee and DonutsCatalyst Gallery, Beacon, NYGroup
2015RAISEDThe Cage at West 4th Street, New York, NYGroup
201412x12 SquaredWhite Walls Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2014Winter Group ExhibitCatalyst Gallery, Beacon, NYGroup
2014Wet GeometryShooting Gallery, San Francisco, CASolo
2014Principals PrinciplesKuBe, Beacon, NYGroup
2014Carrier PigeonMondrian, New York, NYGroup
2014Line Forms HereCatalyst Gallery, Beacon, NYGroup
2014BOS ExhibitHudson Beach Gallery, Beacon, NYGroup
2014BOS ExhibitThe Beacon Lofts Gallery, Beacon, NY Group
2013Manic Episode 4T.A.S., Groningen, NetherlandsGroup
2013Small Works ExhibitCatalyst Gallery, Beacon, NYGroup
2013Carrier PigeonEMOA SPACE Chelsea, New York, NYGroup
2013Wet DreamsCatalyst Projects, Washington DCGroup
2013Recent PaintingsThe Heurich Gallery, Washington DCSolo
2013FleetThe Bishop on Bedford, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2013Maniac Episode 3: part 2Hamburg City Hall, Hamburg, GermanyGroup
2012Hojus, Lister & Pearson: Net WorkedAthenaeum, Alexandria, VAGroup
2012Making Room: Ten InterpretationsThe Institute Library, New Haven, CTGroup
2012Carrier Pigeon: Artist Driven 2Dalet Gallery, Philadelphia, PAGroup
2012CloudismThe Waddell Gallery, Sterling, VAGroup
2012CP7 Release ExhibitEckhaus Gallery, Kutztown, PAGroup
2012Governors Island Art FairCarrier Pigeon Exhibit, New York, NYGroup
2012Maniac Episode 3Kunstlerhaus Dosenfabrik, Hamburg, GermanyGroup
2012Magically SuspiciousSchool 33 Gallery, Baltimore, MDGroup
2012It's a Small Small WorldFamily Business Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2012UFO 2012Load of Fun Gallery, Baltimore, MDGroup
2011Saturation PointThe Gallery On The Corner, London, EnglandGroup
2011(e)merge Art FairCapitol Skyline Hotel, Washington DCGroup
2011Call and RespondGeorge Mason Univerity 123 Gallery, Fairfax, VAGroup
201110 Years After 9/11Pepco Edison Gallery, Washington DCGroup
2011Curating for a CureLamont Bishop Gallery, Washington DCGroup
2011Restore: JapanLamont Bishop Gallery, Washington DCGroup
2011Select: Art GalaWashington Project for the Arts, Washington DCGroup
2011The Color of TimeThe Sherwood Rotary Gallery, Fairfax, VAGroup
2010Banter: A DialogL2 Gallery, Washington DCGroup
2010Vanishing PointsUnsmoke Systems Gallery, Braddock, PAGroup
2010Pop Up on U StreetAffinity Labs, Washington DCGroup
2010Celebrating the ArtsFairfax Museum, Fairfax, VAGroup
2009Grand OpeningThe SPACE, Fairfax, VAGroup
2008Jamaica FluxJamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Queens, NYGroup
2008The Speed of TimeOTH Gallery, Fairfax, VAGroup
2007Red Light, Green LightMagnolia Art Space, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2007Brooklyn’s Finest10 Grand Studios, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2006CannibalizeThe Rider Project, New York, NYGroup
2006Behind the CrowdLockinn Gallery, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2006Open House10 Grand Studios, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2005NY meets NJGallery 58 Annex, Jersey City, NJGroup
2005For GivenRider Project, New York, NYGroup
2005What's That on the Wall?RAGA Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2004Five FoldHeokaumhang Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2004Diversity + IdentitySchool of Visual Arts Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2004The Wild BunchWhite Columns Annex, New York, NYGroup
2004NylonIronworks Gallery, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2003Hobby LobbySchool of Visual Arts Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2003And Other Such ThingsKeogh's Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2003Welcome to the HatCSV Cultural Center, New York, NYGroup