Featured in Voyage ATL

Richard Perano, Atlanta Commission Artist, Reading Books

Originally posted at Voyage ATL.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Richard Perano.

Richard, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I was a bit obsessed with drawing as a boy. My main themes were dinosaurs, religious figures (I was raised Roman Catholic) and cartoons. Like clockwork, I stopped drawing when I hit puberty. Then, In the early 2000s, I started again when someone told me something I found hard to believe. I was filling in for one of our absent parents on Grandparent’s Day at Paideia School. When my “amazing” daughter and I got to her Art Class, I began chatting with the Art Teacher who happens to be a well known local artist. The topic of my childhood drawing came up and she told me that if I took up drawing again, I’d pick up right where I left off when I was 13.  I couldn’t resist testing her claim and became hooked pretty much immediately, studying and devouring every art book recommended to me. Over the next several years, I kept working hard at the basics of human anatomy and the landscape of the face. When I could, I did free portraits for friends feeling a little like those barbers-in-training who give free haircuts. Of necessity, I was self-taught, and my art education moved in fits and starts due to my job and the usual shocks that life throws at all of us. In the last several years, however, my life has become a little simpler. (I still work FT in the same field I started in about 30 years ago.). I’ve been a regular Boot Camp participant (meeting weekdays between 6 AM and 7 AM) since July 2011 which has led to a lot of road and trail running races with my crazy band of friends. I am first in line to start a 10-week recurring group studio session in oil painting this June with a very highly regarded Portrait Artist here in Atlanta who has been teaching for 40 years and has a wide following. In the meantime, I draw almost every night and as much as I can on the weekends.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Currently, I am doing black and white drawings, studies and commissions in Graphite, charcoal, conte crayon and or chalk. My work is focused almost entirely on the human face and body. According to my soon-to-be Oil Painting Mentor, if you can draw the human form, you can draw anything! I am learning something new, consciously, and, hopefully, sub-consciously, every single time I do a study of one of the great masters. Aside from their remarkable skills, they were brilliant problem-solvers. My latest favorite studies are the drawings of Andrea del Sarto.

In my work, I am focused on finding the most realistic/three-dimensional expression of the full spectrum of human emotion. Studying the great masters from the Renaissance to today is indispensable in achieving this goal. (See my drawings/studies posted on my
business Instagram Account.) Once I begin the oil painting studio sessions, I have been advised that I will start by using just one color, one of the ochres, and I will paint as if I were drawing only with a brush. Ultimately, I hope to achieve that rare transformation where the figures I create seem to defy our senses.

What do you know now that you wished you had learned earlier?
My younger brother, who is a hell of a good guy, closes most of his communications with me by saying: “Keep drawing, Papi!”

I certainly wish I had started drawing again at an earlier age. Or, better yet, I wish I hadn’t stopped when I hit puberty. But, I didn’t, and I did, and here I am now – that’s all that matters – that, and the work!

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
A few months ago, I set up a Business Instagram Account along with a Business FB Page for the purpose of putting my artwork out into the big bad world. A few days ago, I did a photo shoot with my photographer, Jenny Levine, to assemble a group of good photos for this VoyageATL Profile and for my website that will be operational by the Fall. In the meantime, I am happily accepting commissions (again, black and white only for now) either from In-person sittings for those nearby and/or reference photos or, for those who want a dramatic or unusual pose, Jenny can take the reference photo from which I will then complete the artwork. My commissions are very reasonably priced, require no deposit and carry no obligation if not satisfied. I also have plans to enter one, maybe two national art contests this year. In addition, one of the better-known artist platforms on Instagram – called academic_artworks – expressed interest recently in my work and said once I had more critical mass, i.e., more completed artwork, they would revisit sponsoring me. So, basically, Instagram (Business Account) will have my current artwork for now and anyone interested in commissions or in supporting my work with other opportunities can feel totally free to contact me anytime at rperano1@outlook.com.