“If it’s important for you to surround yourself with beauty, magic, and inspiration, then you are in the right place!”
If you’re anything like me, then you are affected by your surroundings and the environment you live (or work) in needs to inspire you and bring you some hope, joy, and magic. I grew up in a rough environment where drugs, gangs, and violence were prevalent and art became an outlet where I could create this for myself. To this day, I sometimes battle depression and art is still an outlet for me. I surround myself with beauty and things that make me happy, including my own art.
In 2001, I earned an art scholarship to the University of Arizona, where I began selling my oil paintings while still going to school, exhibiting my work in Scottsdale, Arizona and New York City. I still approach my art with that oil painting background, but I now use modern technology to create my “paintings”.
In 2011, my wife and I were in a spiritual rut, so we sold everything we had and moved to Albania. It was there that I experienced difficulty acquiring more supplies for my oil paintings. So, inspired by David Hockney, I bought an iPad, started “painting” on it, and I haven’t looked back.
Each piece is digitally painted by hand… no filters are used and no simulated brushstrokes are created. Many of my paintings take several hours, and sometimes, several hours a day for weeks to complete, and they are brought into existence through limited edition prints on metal.
What inspires my art is twofold… the subject matter is the initial inspiration and then the challenge is how to depict the subject in a way that conveys the feeling the subject gives me. My biggest inspirations are Van Gogh, architecture, nature and travel, and every landscape I paint is an exercise in trying to make people feel something when they look at my art. Every painting and its inspirations are different, but they all are an emotional exercise for me that can best be described as meditation.
I’ve overcome many challenges in life, including my biological father abandoning me as an infant, which is something you never quite get over. I’ve had some great mentors in artists like Alfred Quiroz, David Christiana, and Cerese Vaden and now, my wife, Monique, who is my business partner and spiritual guru.
In recent years, some family tragedies, including nearly losing my wife and two infant sons from birthing complications, and the loss of my stillborn daughter have reinforced my commitment to art and living life to the fullest.
Since 2012, I’ve pioneered the use of digital media to create paintings and my work can be found in several public and private collections throughout the world.
What others are saying…
Every time I’m on my computer in my office, directly above my computer screen is your Starry Night painting on the wall across the room.
I’ve been looking for something for that wall for four years, preferring a blank wall to filling it with something I’m just settling for. Your piece just grabbed me that first day I saw it on Facebook. Thank you for giving me this perfect art to disappear into as I look up from the computer while I’m working. My daytime stargazing inspires me as I’m creating my writing and products for my business.
Just wanted to let you know and say thank you!”
– Janet Hilts
Derek, I actually have given your picture to a family member who suffered a tragedy one year ago yesterday and lost their teenage son. We had a wonderful remembrance gathering last night of friends and family and I presented the print to them after the event…..
After reading about your inspiration from losing your own sweet child I decided that this picture would be a perfect gift for them and a way to remember their son Jake and know that he is the light always shining down on them.
Thank you for creating such beautiful, meaningful art. I know they will cherish the picture forever!!!”
– M. Jacobs
Derek, I still have the piece you did for me when back in 2004. It hangs over my fireplace where it has had its rightful place of honor.”
– Kathy Lair