Emotions, moods, and fleeting moments are so difficult to capture on canvas that many artists avoid doing portraits. One standout, self taught portrait artist lives with his wife in a Marion home, where the living room walls are filled with portraits. Faces, a large montage, features the famous and not so famous countenances of an American tap dancer, an actor a scientist, the composite between three famous comedians, the traditional cast members of a long running science fiction TV series, a former TV reporter, various rock stars, athletes and entertainers, as well as his friends. He does it by capturing pictures from videos, which can create really funny faces. For a year and a half, he painted the faces of people who meant something to him, making the montage a sort of tribute.
His other portraits are individual ones, of the lead singer from Babes in Toyland, a Russian gymnast and singer songwriter, and these fill the other walls. His works are mostly done with pencil, graphite, and charcoal. Next he added conte crayon and finally colored pencils to his repertoire. His first stab at using colored pencils was using himself and his wife, from Kobe, Japan, as subjects. He felt he did a good job of coupling traditional American drawing and Japanese wood block print in the drawing. He used their wedding picture, taken in December 1996 at City Hall, as the main subject and intertwined personal and Japanese symbols.
Their trio of cats, not present at the actual wedding, had to be included in the drawing. The face of one cat was turned into a Japanese opera mask, said to fend off evil spirits. The second cat he drew in a position of good luck.
Discarding what they actually wore at the wedding, he decided to draw his wife and himself in kimonos. The kikyo flower, her matriarchal symbol, covers his wife. Outside the room, past the third cat that is behind the vertical blinds, is a gingko tree. A tree at the University of Iowa inspired him to include the gingko, a sign of longevity.
The first time the couple worked together was on this 1997 drawing. Idea mining and inspection were done by his wife. According to her, the drawing is very dear to them. As long as he can incorporate people and faces, he would like to try landscapes next.
It doesn't matter that his pieces have not been exhibited, because four have found their way into books and one on the cover. A staff member brought his work to the attention of the book editor. The editor, in an email, extolled his artistic techniques, combination of portraiture and architecture, and expression of intelligence and humor. All he drew as a child were action heroes and rock stars, and he has come a long way from then. His ability has grown so that he can draw anything he puts his mind to. He describes the process as a way of taking a photograph, in which the artist has the freedom to move things around.