(Laura Simon) [Order this photo]
The Aartful Rose will host local artist Travis Williams at its First Friday gallery reception from 5 to 10 p.m. today.
In addition to his art, the reception will feature painting demonstrations by the artist that will showcase Williams' unconventional technique.
Erin Schloss, director of the Aartful Rose Gallery, said she encouraged Williams to publicly show his paintings.
"I've known Travis for quite a while," Schloss said. "I've discussed his art with him and told him he needed to do an exhibit, so this is his first time showing."
Schloss said Williams' paintings are impressive, but the main focus of the evening will be his painting demonstrations.
"What he does is really unique and amazing," Schloss said. "He paints celestial scenes using spray paints, and he can do them in about 10 to 15 minutes. The process is really cool to watch. He creates different patterns and shapes and he pulls the painting up and it's a finished scene. It's amazing because he does them so fast, but they're so good."
Williams began painting in high school with more traditional oil and acrylic paints, and said he changed mediums after seeing a video of a spray-paint artist on the Internet.
"One of my friends saw a video online of a guy doing space painting using spray paint," Williams said. "They bet me I couldn't learn how to do it, and I accepted. They gave me a week to learn how to do it, so I locked myself in my room and practiced."
The artist in the video made the technique look easy, completing large-scale celestial paintings in less than five minutes, but Williams said working with spray paint wasn't as easy as it looked online.
"It's actually really hard to do," Williams said. "With spray paint, you have to take layers off, rather than build them up, in order to paint a scene. The texture is also completely different from oil or acrylics, and it's a lot harder to work with. It runs, so you have to paint fast because it dries so quickly. You have a lot less time to manipulate the paint once it's on the canvas."
Most people equate spray paint with graffiti, but Williams said what he does is completely different.
"Graffiti art is very limited," Williams said. "People tend to think of graffiti as being letters or cartoon characters. I'm trying to show people that you can use it to create actual paintings. I've done space paintings for a while, but I'm also starting to do nature scenes now."
Williams said it takes four minutes for him to finish a large space painting, and 10 to 30 minutes to finish a nature painting, depending on how much detail is involved.
Schloss said she wanted to do an exhibit of Williams' work for the Aartful Rose because his art is unique within the community.
"He's really pushed himself to try new things, and this is something different," Schloss said. "He's a local artist, and his art is very affordable. It's good to support our own."
Although his new art form is challenging, Williams said he was determined to master the technique.
"So many people told me I couldn't do this," Williams said. "I have a regular nine-to-five job, but I come home and paint for four to six hours every night. On my days off, I paint all day long. With dedication and determination, you can do or accomplish anything you want. Even in just a few months."
611 S. Sprigg St., Cape Girardeau, MO