Teaching kids to read and write has inspired Brian Graves on a new and experimental level. Graves has been a public school teacher in Chicago and Detroit for twelve years. After earning his Masters of Arts in Teaching, Reading and Language Arts from Oakland University in Michigan, Graves developed many learning and literacy programs for students. As he has inspired his kids to express themselves through their experiences and adventures in favorite readings, he has turned his love of the written word into a new passion.
Graves picked up the brush and canvas over 10 years ago, and developed a self-taught expression of both feeling and emotion in his own form of abstract painting. Letters, words, everyday expressions, and emotion combine and collide with color and texture through layers of acrylics, oils, pastels, and sometimes even Sharpies.
“I paint using acrylics and then write with oil pastels. I repeat this method with a certain theme in mind. When the finished painting is done, the words and paint have morphed together creating a certain mood,” says Brian. “Words themselves create pictures in my head and I’m always trying to convey that when teaching children about reading in the classroom. I think by painting with words, the viewer ultimately gets to connect with the painting at a very personal level.”
Brian creates his art under the initials “BIG” for Brian Ivan Graves. He lives and works in Chicago.