Scott Plaster started painting as a very young boy, using tempura paints and cheap ox-hair brushes to color in the Picasso-esque figures his dad drew on manilla drawing paper.
It wasn't long until by age 10 he was oil painting on his own easel in his parent's basement, using the recipes in an adult-level book to mix his own painting mediums.
Nearly 30 years later, Plaster is now exhibiting and selling his work in galleries across North Carolina.
"There was a time when I had no idea how to get a gallery to even look at my work, and now it has been difficult keeping galleries and shops stocked with my paintings and prints," Plaster said.
He had never sold a painting until a few years ago, and, at Winston-Salem's Gallery of the Arts in October, a single patron bought three of his paintings the same day.
Although Plaster has been painting for years, it wasn't until he moved back to North Carolina about six years ago that he began marketing and selling his work.
Plaster had already worked in two careers, one in sales and the other at IBM, before deciding to pursue two of his true passions, teaching and art. He teaches remedial reading at a local high school, but when he is not at school, he spends nights, weekends and summers at his easel and marketing his work.
It all begain with a painting called the "Cosmic Cow." He said of his journey to create this unique painting, after working for years to discover his own unique style, "Something just clicked."
"I knew something was different about it from the start," he said. "I was at a new place in my life, and somehow the cow was a way to channel that."
He had photographed the cow a few years earlier while traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway.
"It seemed so out of place, in a field right beside the road with all the tourists driving by," he said. "I snapped its picture and knew that I would paint it someday."
And he did. The painting has the showcase in a number of exhibits and even featured on magazine covers, such as GoTriad and the Community Arts Cafe.
Plaster has followed up with an entire menagerie of "whimsical" animals, including "Mystic Tiger," "Cosmic Cow," "Neon Duck," "Psychic Gibbon," "Shaggy Sheep," alley cat "Miami Lewie," house cat "Cry Baby," "Pelican Peeking," "Crab in Space," an alligator in "Crooked Smile," and "Running Rooster."
His latest works include "A Series of Four Beetles," "A Collection of Flies," "Daytona Five" (a five-panel panorama of Daytona Beach) and "Monty Meerkat."
Plaster always finds a way to depict his subjects in a unique way, whether it's the zany pose of his duck, the stoic expression of his pelican, or the larger-than-life size yawn of "Cry Baby."
Plaster used to specialize in landscapes in oil and watercolor, and he has begun to exhibit those, as well.
The "Cosmic Cow" painting is now the namesake of the area arts organization Plaster leads in central North Carolina. The Cosmic Cow Society is made up of a dozen very diverse and eclectic artists who work in a variety of media. The group arranges regular art shows for its members, hosts educational events, and partners with charities to raise awareness for local charities. The goal of the group is to bring art into the community; its members create affordable art that the average person can enjoy, and sometimes they explore non-threatening venues, such as offices and restaurants. Plaster and two of the group's other artist members, Perry Boswell and Cass Catlett, are sharing a booth at Boone's ArtWalk.
Plaster uses his former skills as an internet consultant to develop internet websites for galleries, arts organizations, small businesses, other artists and himself. He uses his website to maintain an image gallery, a list of his exhibits, and a newsletter. Plaster has had gallery representation in the N.C. Triad for a few years, but has now branched out to sell work in galleries literally from the mountains to the coast, including work in more than a dozen galleries and shops.
His website at scottplaster.com maps out the locations with links to the galleries' websites. Other than his originals, Plaster also sells his images in a variety of formats -matted prints, greeting cards, note card sets, small "stand-up" prints, posters, and even stickers.
Plaster said he is excited to be at ArtWalk.
"I went to school at Appalachian and lived six years in Boone," he said. "It's almost like being at home because I have missed it. I love it here!"
ArtWalk is located at 611 W. King St. (across from Mast General Store) Boone, N.C. 28607. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. For more information, call (828) 264-9998, e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit http://www.artwalkboone.com.
Gallery Times is a weekly news feature of the Focus section of The Mountain Times, featuring short news items submitted by local galleries.
For more information or to make a submission, contact editor Frank Ruggiero at (email@example.com) or (828) 264-6397.