A member of the Yakama Nation and one of Eastern Washington’s most acclaimed artists, Leo Adams is a uniquely gifted painter and designer whose house overlooking the Yakima Valley has long been considered a Northwest treasure. In 1962, when he was just 19 years old, Adams received honorable mention at the Bellevue Arts and Crafts festival along with top Northwest artists of the day Wendell Brazeau (1910-1974), William Cumming (1917-2010), Alden Mason (1919-2013), and Doris Chase (1923-2008). During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Adams lived in Seattle, showed his workat Richard White Gallery (later Foster/White), and was discovered by designer Jean Jongeward (1917-2000), who made the young artist’s paintings a signature element of her high-end interiors. In 1970 Adams bought a parcel of land on the northern edge of the Yakama reservation and began building a house. Constructed with modest means and salvaged materials, the building reflects the characteristics of the surrounding landscape and Adams's creative imagination. Since 1972, he has lived, worked, and exhibited his paintings there, and the house has been featured in many architecture and design publications and countless periodicals.
Although Leo Adams freely admits that he is most familiar with and most enjoys painting, he is also noted for his interior design. He is able to take the most common of materials—plywood, dried vegetation, rusty metal, and any type of “found” object— assemble them in unusual ways, and create interior spaces that cannot be easily described in words.