Terry Adkins (1953-2014) was born in Washington, DC. Inspired by his musical household and Jimi Hendrix, he took up guitar, eventually working his way through the flute, pocket trumpets, the bass violin, and the violin. He mused a professional music career, performing in his youth and early adulthood with Sun Ra and various jazz ensembles, but was seduced by the visual arts early on. His affinity for drawing was nourished at Fisk University in Nashville, where he studied under artists Martin Puryear, Carlton Moss, Earl Hooks, Stephanie Pogue, and regularly encountered Aaron Douglas, a commanding presence during the Harlem Renaissance. Although formalists including Constantin Brancusi and Yves Klein influenced his thought process, his musical tastes bent toward the "free music" emerging from the sixties and the experimental compositions of Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Cecil Taylor, and Archie Shepp, to name a few. Adkins completed his B.S. in printmaking in 1975, and continued on to Illinois State University for an M.S. in printmaking, then an M.F.A from the University of Kentucky in sculpture.