Portrait artists have a hard time trying to capture emotions, moods, and moments. One standout, self taught portrait artist lives with his wife in a Marion home, where the living room walls are filled with portraits. His best work is “Faces,” a montage of an American tap dancer, an actor a scientist, the composite between three famous comedians, the traditional cast members of a long running science fictionTV series, a former TV reporter, various rock stars, athletes and entertainers, and his friends. He does it by capturing pictures from videos, which can create really funny faces. He filled a year and a half of rendering faces of people who influenced him onto the single montage.
Aside from the montage, he has individual portraits of the lead singer from Babes in Toyland, a Russian gymnast, and a songwriter. He favors pencil, graphite, and charcoal for his works. Conte crayon and colored pencil pieces were next. The subjects of his first work in colored pencil were himself and his wife, a native of Kobe, Japan. He mixed and matched American and Japanese wood block print styles. On top of the wedding photograph, taken at City Hall in December 1996, he added personal and Japanese symbols.
The couple’s three cats, obviously not at the real wedding, are in the drawing. One mask from Japanese opera is said to ward off evil spirits, and he uses this as the face of the first cat. Good luck comes to those in a certain position, and he draws the second cat in it.
Instead of what they actually wore at the wedding, he drew them in kimonos. The kikyo flower, her matriarchal symbol, covers his wife. He decided to draw in a gingko tree, past the third cat, behind the vertical blinds, outside the room. The gingko is a sign of longevity, and the artist thought of including it after seeing a tree at the University of Iowa.
This 1997 drawing marks the first time the couple worked together. It was his wife’s job to develop and critique ideas. According to the wife, the drawing means so much to them. The artist says he would like to expand into landscapes, but he will always add people, as they are his favorite pieces to draw.
Four of his pieces have been published in a book, one of which serves as the cover, but he has not had his own exhibit. A staff member showed his work to the book editor. The artist received an email of commendation by the editor on his technique, unique combination of portraiture and architecture, and expression of complexity with humor. Action heroes and rock stars were his favorite drawings as a child, and he has matured since then. His skills are so refined that he can portray on paper any image or impression. Anything he sees, he enhances with his own changes.