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2006 Celtic Tenors portrait by Kevin-John Jobczynski

interview

 

Read what the artist Kevin-John Jobczynski told us about his Celtic Tenors portrait, which was drawn and auctioned during a charity event in Erie, Pennsylvania.

 

Tell us a little bit of "The artist Kevin-John Jobczynski"

I am 37 years old, married and reside on beautiful Lake Erie in Erie, Pennsylvania, United States. I have been a professional artist for nearly twenty years. In the early part of my career, I produced pen and ink renderings of historical sites and points of interest in my home town. I sold many prints made from my original drawings and had some success as an artist. In 1998 I was asked by a professional American Football player if I could create a drawing of him in action? I did, and that started a bit of a landslide of other players that wanted drawings done for them. I decided that Sports Art could be a very lucrative focus for my talents. I enjoy all sports and enjoy meeting the players. So I set to work to improve my renderings of the human form in motion. I never had any formal training at creating portraits, the human face, so I had to work really hard to improve that. I contracted with an agent and began marketing myself to professional athletes, teams and sports events. Over the past 6 years, I have received a good bit of acclaim and national attention for my artwork. I have been fortunate enough to be recognized by some of the top athletes of our time. Most recently I created a portrait for the NFL's Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, Pittsburgh Steeler, Hines Ward. My artwork has been featured on national television as well as many sporting events around the country and at the ESPN Club at Walt Disney World. Because of the notice that my work has garnered, I am asked to illustrate other types of entertainers and subjects. That is what lead me to the Celtic Tenors project. I feel so very blessed to be able to use my talents as a career. I am also flattered to be asked to share my story with you all. One of the most amazing things about art is that people whom I do not know, in places that I have never been, are enjoying my work. They get to know me through my art. I love making people happy when they view my artwork.

 

What medium (oils, charcoal, pastels) do you prefer to work in?

I work primarily in graphite pencil. Greys, blacks and whites. I am colored blind, so it makes it very difficult for me to paint in color. I have concentrated on how to tell the story in black and white.

 

What is your favourite "object" - landscape or people or both?

I must say people. For the first ten years of my career, I drew buildings almost exclusively. That can get pretty tiresome after a while. I can spend nearly 300 hours on one drawing, and the detail in buildings and landscapes is sometimes daunting. I also truly enjoy meeting and getting to know the people whom I illustrate. I work from photographs, but I also spend a good amount of time with my subjects, talking and getting to know their spirit.

 

What is your inspiration for painting?

Well, I would like to give you a very romantic answer to this question, but the truth is that I do all of my artwork by commission. So I guess the money inspires me, if I don't draw I don't eat. Those are the hard facts about choosing to be a freelance artist as a career; I very rarely get to create art out of pure pleasure anymore. The demand for my originals is so great, that when I am drawing, it is a paid project. In that way, I am lucky, there are countless artists that create inspired works, but rarely get paid for them. When vacationing or taking a break, I do get a chance to sketch a bit. I find myself inspired by the lake front and beaches here in my home town. We have two lighthouses and beautiful boats and ships here. I like to sketch those things; it is very calming and peaceful.

 

Have you been asked to do a drawing of the Celtics or where did that idea come from?

I was commissioned to create the portrait of the Tenors. They were doing a performance here in Erie, and to help promote the performance and raise money for a charity, the appeared as celebrity bartenders at Molly Brannigan's Traditional Irish Pub the night before the concert. The folks at Molly Brannigan's approached me about creating a portrait of the trio during the celebrity bartending event. The Tenors would then autograph the original portrait and that would be auctioned for charity. I thought that it was a wonderful idea; it was a great deal of fun. I drew while the lads served pints of Guinness! Then I had a pint of Guinness, or two.

 

How long did it take to do the drawing?

About five hours. It was a very quick sketch. I had to begin and finish the portraits during the event so that it could be auctioned off the next evening at the concert. I feel that it is a pretty good representation of the Tenors. I believe that they liked it as well, which is always important. One of the first questions that they had for me when they saw the finished drawing was if I could make prints for them and the fans. That was a great compliment for me. It also told me how much they appreciate their fans, they thought of them immediately.

 

Your drawing of The Celtic Tenors was used for a charity auction. Do you know the last bid for the drawing?

I must confess that I do not know the exact amount raised. The concert was a very busy night for me, I had to present the portrait then signed autographs and I was hosting my parents and some friends at the performance as well. My simple sketch work normally will bring a few thousand dollars at auction.

 

After working with the Celtics - did you go to see them in concert? If you did, did you like it?

I did get a chance to see the concert, I was amazed. I love music, all types of music, I found the Tenors to have some of the most beautiful voices that I have ever heard. I love pure vocalists, guys or girls that can flat out SING, and that group can definitely SING. I was also taken by young Donna Malone who sang with the Tenors, she has a tremendous future in front of her. My wife and I bought the Tenors' new CD and listen to it often to remember that great night. My favorite song is Non Siamo Isole / We are not Islands. I am a bit of a romantic, that song truly touched me. I would like to say that having the opportunity to work with Matthew, Naill, James, David and Donna was a true pleasure. They were all so wonderful to talk with. Although, I am still waiting for them to call me, they were to put me in touch with Samantha Mumba. I joked with them that I draw a lot of men, and I think that Samantha would be the perfect female subject to capture in portrait. I think that they agreed. I am waiting for your phone call, Samantha. Thank you for this opportunity to share my story with you, this was a delight. I wish you all blessings from the United States and hope that you enjoy the portrait of the Celtic Tenors.

-Kevin-John


Visit Kevin-John's website

 

We would like to thank Kevin-John. Good luck with your career and in your personal life!