Moving People

Already in a Daydream By Chris McAdoo

Chris McAdoo’s paintings evoke feelings about different times and places

Chris McAdoo believes that art has the ability to transport people to new places and new feelings. Perhaps that’s why so much of his work includes images of boats, cars, and motorcycles. 

The canoes in his Vessel series represent the space we share between two set points — birth and death. “In between is this beautiful, painful, happy, sad, joyful place we all share,” he says. “For me the boat is between Point A and Point B and represents adventure.” 

The vintage automobile he paints is the 1952 Rocket 88 that once belonged to his uncle. “It evokes a particular feeling for a time period. It brings you somewhere.” 

Chris McAdoo | Photo by Shawn Poynter

The motorcycle is one he owned in his early 20s. “It meant movement, freedom, adventure. Those images are very particular to me. I always approach work from a personal place.” 

The East Tennessee native and Carson-Newman grad says his mixed-media pieces cross lines between pop art and abstracts. “No one is going to hire me to do a commissioned portrait of their family,” he says. “For me it’s the sheer joy and challenge of artmaking more than getting it exactly right. I’m more interested in representing a story and a feeling.

“I find painting in particular, the act of artmaking, one of the most intensely intimate experiences that anyone can have. I love to start with a blank canvas and turn it into something. Art can serve its own purpose. It can tell a story or reflect a person. It can tell a different story the next day. I find that absolutely magical.” 

He’s just as interested in sharing his enthusiasm for creativity with others. He’s the chief experience officer for the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and hosts a KEC-affiliated podcast called Big Ideas Welcome. “I talk with artists, makers, change makers, technologists and scientists who are making big things happen.

“A lot of my life has been spent speaking. I love to share my creative process and get people excited and challenged to find their own creative voice.”

McAdoo’s art can be found on his website,  

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