Young Craig artist following family traditions
May 28, 2011
Michelangelo spent four years working on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Leonardo da Vinci contemplated the "Mona Lisa" for more than a decade.
By contrast, the time it takes 12-year-old Craig artist Breyden Clark to work his craft seems like a drop of water in a large bucket. But, that doesn't mean he doesn't put the same effort into his paintings as the masters of the Renaissance period.
Breyden's artwork can be observed in the front window of Mane Attitude Salon, 571 Yampa Ave., where he has most recently painted a figure capturing the essence of this year's Grand Olde West Days — a silhouette of a stallion emblazoned with the American flag, a symbolism noting the event's ties to Memorial Day.
The painting that currently adorns the window is one of several Breyden has completed for Mane Attitude owner Leni Allen. Allen first commissioned his work in December after seeing some of his sketches.
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"I asked him if he would be able to paint a Santa Claus for me and he had so much fun doing that, I wanted to have him do some more," he said.
Breyden also painted St. Patrick's and Easter pictures for Allen before moving on to his latest painting.
"I think he's just a fantastic artist," Allen said. "The kind of art he does is phenomenal."
Breyden's process involves no tracing. First, he sketches the initial image onto the window with a grease pen freehand and then paints from there.
"The way that I try to paint things is get a picture of what I want in my head and then work from that," he said.
The flag image appears backward in the window, but for good reason. The artist painted it on the inside of the window to make sure there would be no problems with any wet weather.
"You have to use a special kind of paint on glass," he said.
Each of his paintings has taken between six and eight hours of work, which he has done in his free time after school. Breyden estimated that he could probably finish an entire painting if he had a full Saturday to do it.
Breyden started drawing as a hobby when he was about 6, but he grew up around all different kinds of art before that. His father, Jimmy, has worked in body art for 15 years. He and his wife, Carrie, Breyden's stepmother, opened Liquid Flesh Tattoo next door to Mane Attitude, in February 2010.
"I think Breyden was just born into it," Jimmy said. "He's probably a better artist than I am on the scale of things. When he gets a little more under his belt, he'll surpass me by a long shot."
Breyden specializes in drawing people, specifically action scenes.
"He's always painting or drawing something from any video game he plays or movie he watches," Carrie said.
Breyden said he is heavily influenced by comic book art, such as the style of "Spawn" creator Todd McFarlane.
"There are so many things from movies I like to draw, like from 'The Crow,' 'Spider-Man,' 'Ghost Rider,' everything like that," he said.
Breyden said he is also interested in other art forms like pottery, and he hopes to get into woodworking and sculpture when he gets older.
He said he enjoys all kinds of art because it keeps him close to family members such as his grandparents, who paint regularly.
His interest and talent in the discipline may give him an early jump on a career, as well.
"I'd like to have him maybe start hanging around the shop more when he's 16 or 17, start helping out part time, getting drawings or designs ready," Jimmy said. "I just want him to be happy doing whatever he's doing."
While Jimmy and Carrie are supportive of Breyden's artistic ventures, they have expressed to him that they don't want him doing anything like graffiti on private property.
Also forbidden is any talk of the 12-year-old getting a tattoo of his own.
At least for now.
"Not until he's 18," Jimmy laughed.