artnet Asks: Painter and Science Illustrator Adelaide Tyrol

She splits her time between fashion show backdrops and scientific illustrations.

Adelaide Murphy Tyrol Photo: courtesy of

Adelaide Tyrol Murphy is a woman of many talents. While her painted and drawn depictions of animalia and fauna flourish in contemporary markets, she is also a natural science illustrator and founder of a scenic backdrop painting and rental business catering to customers from photography studios to fashion runway shows. She splits her time between Vermont, New York, and Boston. Her art compositions draw from her other ventures, balancing detailed drawing with loose and gestural paint strokes. Her artwork has been exhibited throughout the New England region and in New York, including at the New York State Museum in Albany and at the Richardson-Clarke Gallery in Boston.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I was fortunate enough to have the renowned artist Barry Moser as my high school art teacher. Within one day of working with him, seeing the way he drew, the things he could express with a sensitive line, I was hooked. I knew then that art—drawing and painting, in particular, would be my language.

Adelaide Tyrol, Bird with blue wings

Adelaide Tyrol, Bird with blue wings
Gouache and vintage paper with type overlay, 10 x 8 in.
Photo courtesy of

What inspires you?
I have always had an almost obsessive interest in animals, birds, insects, and plants. I feel that somewhere deep in the belly of biology lie glistening clues to our questions about life; exploring this realm through drawing and painting helps me to clarify my relationship to life, and helps to stay the confusion.

Adelaide Tyrol, The Sea Goat  Acrylic on panel 36 x 28 in. Photo: courtesy of

Adelaide Tyrol, The Sea Goat
Acrylic on panel, 36 x 28 in.
Photo courtesy of

If you could live in close proximity to one museum in the world, which would it be?
I think it would be the Natural History Museum in Paris (and then I would also be near the Louvre!).

Adelaide Tyrol, The Ram Acrylic on panel 48 x 36 in. Photo: courtesy of

Adelaide Tyrol, The Ram
Acrylic on panel, 48 x 36 in.
Photo courtesy of

What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a series of large-format sumi-e drawings on translucent synthetic paper. They are large cropped portraits of birds and insects primarily. The ink interacts with the paper in thrilling and organic ways—it just dances across the surface. I am scheduled to have a show of this work next year.

When not making art, what do you like to do?
Art is a solitary existence, and I like to be with friends and family when I am not in the studio. I love to travel to places where I can interact in nature and see things I have never seen before.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics