Green Spot doubles as a gas station and an eco-friendly convenience store. Look closely, and you’ll find a number of beautiful prints on the walls, each immortalizing a moment in nature around White Rock Lake.
Those photographs were all taken by Adam Velte, a self-taught virtuoso who’s been managing the store for 15 years.
“I’ve been quiet about having my art on the wall here ,” he says from behind the smokescreen of a steaming vanilla latte from Green Spot’s espresso bar. “Mostly because I’ve never really curated any kind of art space or anything myself.”
Velte is no stranger to the art world, though, learning to paint and draw as an elementary student and showcasing his work at local art shows.
“I suppose I was doing something right,” he says. “I would always find myself in these art shows.”
His visual arts career petered out after grade school, and he shifted his creative outlet to music production as an adult. In 2015, his love for the visual realm was rekindled.
“My dad had been carrying around my old artwork from elementary school for decades,” Velte says. “I thought they were trashed years ago. He brought them home to me, and I was really touched by that sentimental act. I framed it all and put it on my walls at home.”
Feeling inspired, Velte took to the neighborhood to find beautiful scenes to photograph. These days, his equipment of choice is a Fujifilm X-T3, a high-end mirrorless digital camera. When he first set out to photograph on his own, his equipment was of circumstance — his cellphone.
“ These are more like cameras with phones on them,” he jokes, holding up his iPhone. “I was really enjoying this technology that’s so convenient. The more shots you take, the more you can learn composition and what you’re doing right or wrong. I had a lot of practice with this thing before I picked up an actual digital camera.”
Velte typically sets off around White Rock Lake, primed with inspiration and searching for the place to put it. In the years removed since his initial journey, his subjects have evolved.
“I’ve gone from shooting landscapes to shooting more birds and animals,” he says. “Every season, there’s new birds after one goes away.”
Over time, that process has become part of Velte’s daily routine.
“It helps me decompress, de-stress and wake up,” he says. “Just for the primal side and shedding away the modern world. Who am I really? Let’s go out into nature and find out.”
Finding out is exactly what he’s done, leaving behind a beautiful legacy of photos shot with passion in its purest form.
Recently, he was featured in Lake Highlands Presbyterian Church’s community art exhibition, his first public show since returning to the field. In it, he displayed all of his best shots from around the local environment.
Art feels like an inevitability once it’s found an artist. No matter how far away Velte was removed from the medium, it flowed through his blood and coursed through his muscles. After years of unuse, he’s happy to be flexing them again.
“It’s keeping me busy and inspired day after day,” he says.