Adam Carlos

adam w. carlos

Adam W. Carlos is a second-generation artist from Sewanee, Tennessee. He is a graduate of The University of the South where he earned a bachelors degree in the studio arts. He is proficient in the mediums of photography, painting, and sculpture, but drawing lifelike and detailed graphite portraiture is his specialty.


Adam Carlos  with wife Madison and daughter Clementine

Adam’s father, J. Edward Carlos, has recently retired from his position as Full Professor of Studio Art at the University of the South in Sewanee, where he taught for thirty-seven years. From an early age, Adam watched as his father built the art program from the ground up teaching all disciplines of art offered by the University. At times he accompanied his father to class and drew or painted alongside his father’s students. Although his father saw promise in these early attempts, Adam’s early loves were sports (especially baseball) and music (he played drums while his bother Aaron played guitar). Baseball finally won out and consumed the majority of his time while his music interests continued mainly as a listener. As a sophomore at St. Andrew’s Sewanee School his creativity was sparked once again by ceramics courses. He fell in love with photography shortly after that.

It was photography that caused Adam to major in studio art as a student at the University of the South. And although he was a standout on the college baseball field, he spent most of his time in the darkroom. As an art major at Sewanee, Adam was re-introduced to drawing and sculpture. Both immediately grabbed his attention. It was this diversity of concentration in his major that led Adam to be awarded the John McCrady Award for Excellence in the studio arts at his graduation ceremonies in 1989.

After graduation, Adam once again took time off from the arts, this time to work in construction. He credits much of his attention to detail in his current drawings to his time spent as a lead carpenter building fine residential homes in the Sewanee area. It was several years before Adam would again solely spend his time creating art, though he did continue to accept a few commissioned portraits each year. After a couple years with his own residential construction company, Adam finally felt that construction was not satisfying his creative side. During this time Adam rediscovered bluegrass and acoustic music, began playing mandolin, and began to develop the ideas that would lead Hands of Music series.

Finally, in 1998 he decided to concentrate full time on artwork. Since that time, he has been tirelessly pursuing and improving his portraiture and his Hands of Music series, both of which combine his love of photography and graphite drawing with his admiration of the human character and love of music.