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About Brian Hester

"An ounce of experience is greater than a ton of theory simply because it is only in experience that any theory has vital and verifiable significance"—John Dewey—Pioneer for Progressive Education

Self Portrait

I grew up in Boone, NC fishing the waters of Watauga, Wilkes, Burke, Caldwell, Ashe and Avery Counties. When I was six years old my Dad says I “stole”his fly rod and reel. It was a Shakespeare combo set and I like to use the terms, “borrowed it indefinitely.” My mom wouldn’t let me fish alone until I knew how to swim. So, I focused on swimming. Unknowingly, my ability to swim ended up paying huge dividends for my future. I was fortunate enough to swim at UNC-Charlotte from ’87-’91. This is where I began to pursue a career in art. This is also where I figured out how much I missed the mountains and went home to fish any time I got the chance.

Two things have largely influenced my life to                                                                                           date:  art and fly-fishing.  Both of these things are naturally cohesive as I consider fly-fishing to be an art form.  The relationship between these art forms has bridged the gap between my talents as a painter/sculptor and a fly-fisherman. This has allowed me to show an enriched perspective to an audience that might never visually get the experience. Within the realm of fly-fishing, the fly is a combination of materials used to mimic nature. My paintings and sculptures represent what I see happening each time I stand knee deep in the water fly-fishing. My imitations are my personal perspective with a couple of twists and turns.

I love to compose through the concept of inversion or by taking my subject matter and inserting it into unconventional situations. My paintings vary from the reminiscing vapor of a trout from a cigar sitting on a two-finger bourbon at the end of a day fishing, to the stand-off between a real mayfly and one that has been tied, to a rising brown locked in a highball glass of his own whiskey river, to the patrolling of 2 trout covered in our stars and stripes in honor of our military and the organization, Project Healing Waters. Those moments are gone in an instant, if you are not paying attention. My goal is play with every scenario and capture that instant. My journey through fly-fishing has brought my work to a more intimately detailed view of the subject matter that I hold dear to my heart. The symbiotic relationship between my artwork and my fly fishing is one in the same. Without one, the other would not exist.


I have taught visual arts in Charlotte, NC for the last 27 years and have been a practicing painter/sculptor for many more. I hope you enjoy getting up close and personal above and below the water-line, while I hit pause for that split second to catch that moment in time that would otherwise be simply unseen. 


Fly fishing is absolutely for everyone to experience, because fishing (in general) does not care about your religion, your skin color, your culture, your sex or whether you’re rich or poor. The only two things fishing cares about in my eyes, is your attitude and effort.

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