Omar Patterson didn't get into painting until a few years ago. And then he got his first job -- paint a mural.
He's been painting ever since. At age 19, Patterson is a resident artist at ARTworks in Beaufort, a program designed to give artists space to work and sell their creations. He can be found there working on his oil paintings most days when he's not in class at the University of South Carolina Beaufort.
Patterson, a Yemassee native, explains how he jumped into art.
Question. When did you first start painting?
Answer. I didn't start painting until age 15. But I've been drawing most of my life. Little art shows at elementary school and stuff like that. My first painting was a mural.
Q. Where was that?
A. My mom's shop at Shell Point -- Escape Beauty and Spa. It's over in Beaufort now. One side was a waterfall. The other was a beach. The other two were jungle themed. It's not around anymore, though. It's a furniture store now.
Q. That's nice of Mom.
A. It was a pretty good jump-start. When you get all that space to work with, the smaller scale stuff like what I'm doing now is like no big deal.
Q. What was that like, jumping right into murals?
A. Honestly, I didn't know what I was doing. I definitely had to plan it out. I wish I would have known the grid system then. You dissect the space into squares and then focus on filling each square.
Q. Have you done any more murals since then?
A. I did another one at my school's ROTC (Wade Hampton High School). It was a scene with an aircraft carrier, two fighter jets and a submarine. That one's actually still there.
Q. What do you do now?
A. I work mostly with oil. I also do acrylics. I also do graphics for businesses and stuff like that. I'm still looking for my niche for my personal style. Anything I see now I just paint it. I don't just look at something and paint. I look at it from all angles and consider all possibilities.
Q. Did you grow up around artists?
A. I had a few artists in my family, like aunts. But they didn't continue. I would always get in trouble for little doodles in class. That's when it started. Then I thought, "Let me try something harder." And it kept going and going.