Why I make art

This week's spotlight: Dominick Depaolo
By Dominick DePaolo | Sep 19, 2012
Photo by: Donated photo Dominick DePaolo's work can be seen at the Main Street Artist Co-op, Café 50, Main Street Perks, City Bakery and Beverly Hanks, all in Waynesville, as well as the Cheddar Box in Dillsboro and the Macon County Art Association Uptown Gallery in Franklin.

I think I was predestined to love and create art. As a young boy I would draw on anything, and the back of my bedroom door was not such a good idea. Getting a new pad of paper was like Christmas. I couldn't wait to start drawing.  My love for art grew as I did, and in grade school we had an art class only once a week and I couldn't wait. In grade school, my friends would come to me to show them how to draw cartoons. My earliest influences were comic books and coloring books.

In eighth grade my art teacher saw something and encouraged me to practice and try drawing more seriously. He entered me in a school contest, and I won. That was the serious beginning of my passion.  I entered more and more contests and won. Finally I was entered into the school regional contest and won. Finally, the state contest, which I didn't win, but this was the point that made made my direction obvious. High school allowed me develop my style and keep me wanting more. I painted sets for the drama department  the back drop and more for the the seniors' production of South Pacific.

The Air Force and then the Navy (believe it!) followed high school, where I was an illustrator and enjoyed that so much I stayed in. After the service I was contacted by my high school art teacher, now the department head, and asked to teach an art class at the local college. Six courses every semester for almost 15 years. Teaching all mediums (except pastels), and as the time went on I was able to ad Digital art instruction. More ways to love my art!

My Long Grove Art School was born in the back studio of our retail shop in Long Grove, Illinois (Northwest Chicago). Classes evolved, and I learned that sharing my art with these students of all different ages was very exciting, and I wanted more. The student numbers grew and we enjoyed a successful 12 years there. This time allowed me to create portraits of homes and buildings for clients. I would travel to photograph the surrounding and make homes look like they did decades before. I did portraits for gifts, and now my art allowed me to be part of folks' lives. Taught evenings in local high schools, took on classes in senior centers and park districts, which added to my own expanding of all kinds of art. Students from years past came for more instruction now.  What gratification!

Why do I make art? Seeing the face of a student who has just created something they never dreamt they could do or hanging a new finished piece of  my own in a gallery gives me such a source a of pleasure. Highlights like the memory of painting the murals in the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum in Branson, Missouri, and portraits of both Roy and Dale for their son, Dusty, are always with me. And then the murals in the Opal Cassidy Museum in Kansas always remind this life-long cowboy fan of what art does for me. Truth be known, I probably enjoy teaching art as much as creating it myself.

We retired in 2009 and moved to Waynesville where I grew up. I have enjoyed the move and I am teaching and showing my artwork. My life has been a blessing and I have been able to do what I love, what more could one ask? I have retired and still do what I love to do ... even that is an art!

Please visit www.LongGroveArtSchool.com to learn more.