A Selection of Featured Artists & Friends

Meet an Artopian: Heather Spurlock

Heather SpurlockHow would you describe your artistic style?
To describe my artistic style…well, I never stick to one thing for too long. I like to try a little bit of everything when it comes to art. I like to think of myself as a “free bird” in the art world.

What influences you to incorporate buttons in your pieces?
I always like to add different things into my paintings for texture…odds and ends I may have or pieces of old jewelry. The buttons just happen to be incorporated into two different pieces I donated for the event two different times.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Wow…super power! I loved super girl when I was a child, she was my hero. I would love to be able to fly….I envy creatures with wings because they can move so freely when they want.

At what point did you first consider yourself a true artist?
When I first started doodling….that’s when I considered myself an artist. My favorite artist is Picasso and I quote “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up”.

When did you first get involved with Artopia, and why?
I believe 2014 was the first year I got involved because a friend of mine told me about it. I love being able to spread my love of art while helping the community! Anytime I can lend a helping hand, no matter the situation…I am more than happy to do so.

Meet an Artopian: Ty Fowler

Ty FowlerWhat do you love about photography?
I love photography because it is cool to be able to freeze moments in time that you would not be able to freeze without a camera.

Who is your favorite musician?

If you could have a super power, what would it be?
The power of flight

What is your favorite color?

How has photography change you life?
Photography has changed my life because it has allowed me to meet people that I would not have met if I had not taken up photography has a hobby.

Meet an Artopian: Todd Szuch

Todd SzuchWhy do you create art?
When I have an idea or vision I feel passionate about, there’s this strong desire to see it expressed in a physical way. In doing so, I’m able to share my perspective with other people and connect with them through art.

What do you wish to convey through your work?
I don’t have a particular message but rather my intent is to share who I am, coming from a background of somewhat unknown origin. Having been adopted from Korea as an infant and growing up in the U.S. I have a unique lens through which I view the world around me.

How would you describe your artistic style?
It varies between abstract color studies that play into the natural fluidity of watercolor to both stylized and detailed realistic landscapes, botanicals, portraits and still life settings that require patient control.

If you had one super power what would it be and why?
I’d have the ability to breathe underwater so I could explore the oceans.

If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
There is no where in the world that I would want to travel to right now, I am right where I want to be.

Learn more about Todd’s work at his website,

Meet an Artopian: Thadd Swerdzewski

Thadd SwerdzewskiWho is your biggest inspiration in art?
Salvador Dali, Charles Schultz, and Sandy Proctor.

Will the Beatles be getting back together?
No, unless you’re talking about the bugs.

What do you love about creating?
The ability to tap into the emotions of others and the unique visual way to communicate.

Does the band Nickelback bother you?
No, even though they’re from Canada, I dig it.

What advice would you give to new or up-and-coming artists?
Combine what sells in the marketplace with what you truly enjoy, and you’ll be a success.

Meet an Artopian: Dewayne Cosby

Dewayne CosbyWhy did you start painting?
I started painting/drawing any a early age. I didn’t have a lot of friends in school, so I found ways to entertain myself to keep me occupied. I had no idea that it would become a outlet for me to express myself and to be noticed a little bit more in school that I was. It was always a great way to get to know people. For instance, when I would be in a room full of people I didn’t know and to shy to introduce myself, I simply took out my pencils and sketch book and began to draw. Within a few minutes I’d have people asking what I was doing and where did I learn to draw and so forth. Really helped me grow into a more social person.

Can art heal?
Yes, I believe that art has many impacts to the healing process. It can calm you down during stress or anxiety, lower heart rate, clear the mind, relive stress and not to mention that when you’re done, as you look at what was created, you kinda get that feeling like “huh…. about of all my feelings, emotions and thoughts turned into something that can’t be duplicated.” And is as unique as I. That’s a great feeling, to look at something that wasn’t ever there until you came along. My cousin Mary Aday said it before… to me actually.

Who is your biggest influence in art?
My biggest influence in art would have to be my family – my mom especially. Always telling me that I was talented and one day would impact someone in some way of greatness to them. I’ve always just brushed it off and said that she was only saying that because she’s mom and that’s what moms do. But without her, I would not be the person I am today. And honestly, I kinda like me. I’m proud and glad that she’s my mom.

What is song is playing on your phone right now?
The song playing on my phone right now is “Sirens of the Sea” by Ocean Lab – my favorite song in the universe!!

Why have you decided to help Big Bend Cares?
I have decided to help Big Ben Cares because of all the help they provide to others and the LGBT community – my community. All the hard work that they put in… a simple “thank you” couldn’t be enough. Lucky are we to have them in our town and community. I wanted to give back. Just paying it forward.

Meet an Artopian: Nathan Archer

Nathan ArcherHow has your artistic style changed over time?
My artistic style is constantly evolving and changing. I work in a variety of mediums and styles, depending on the intent of the piece as well as the audience. I was trained early on as a classic fine artist, working mainly in charcoal and graphite. In college I studied painting with a focus on abstract expressionism. Upon entering the “real world,” I transferred my composition and color skills over to graphic design, which then evolved into digital illustration. These days most of my work is done digitally on a tablet, though I relish every opportunity to get my hands dirty with traditional materials.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration as an artist?
There are so many amazing artists from such a wide variety of schools and genres that inspire me. I love the “brushiness” of Cézanne’s paintings, the softness of Rothko’s, and the power and depth of Gerhard Richter’s work. However, I also draw inspiration from cartoonists like Mort Drucker, Bill Patterson, R. Crumb, and Darwyn Cooke, as well as animators Chuck Jones and Ralph Bakshi. Tallahassee’s tight-knit artist community is also a wonderful daily source of inspiration.

What piece of your own artwork are you most proud of?
Like most artists (I’m willing to bet), I’m never quite satisfied with any of my finished pieces. Having said that, I’m probably most proud of my comic book anthology, Lydia Feeds the Pigeons, which I published from 2009 to 2014. Being able to hold a professionally printed comic that I produced was a life goal I was extremely excited to accomplish.

If you had one superpower, what would it be, and why?
I would love to be able to fly, hands down. I don’t consider myself a jealous person, save for when I see a bird in flight.

If you could meet one famous artist (alive or deceased), who would it be?
Although neither were famous for their art, I would have loved to spend some time talking with my maternal grandparents about their paintings before they passed. Both were such amazing artists; my grandmother painted soft pastoral scenes while my grandfather produced brushy coastal landscapes. Although neither had any formal training, both had such a great understanding of color and composition with the technical skills to match. I’ve always been curious why they chose to paint in their spare time, who their inspirations were, and whether they knew of other family members with an affinity for art.

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