- Associated Press - Saturday, January 7, 2017

LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) - Good things just sort of happen to Darren Moore.

While some artists who try to make a living selling their work find it difficult to get noticed, much less attract a paying customer, the Lexington native has had both fall into his lap. He did not set out to be an artist, and still is a bit uncomfortable with that label, as he sees his paintings as more of a hobby than a career.

With degrees in sports medicine, the 49-year-old left that career path having worked as assistant athletic director for Mooresville City about 15 years ago to become an athletic director and teacher at a private Christian school in Huntersville - another opportunity that just fell from the sky. While working there, he stumbled across an art set and some canvases at a yard sale one day and decided to purchase them. He had been a doodler most of his life, but never really pursued his artistic talent as a child and teen because sports took most of his time.

Once he started using that yard-sale-purchased painter’s kit, he posted on Facebook, a social media platform, some of his paintings.

“I started having people say, ‘I want to buy that,’” said Moore, whose parents are Mona and Bill Berrier .

Selling about 10 of his paintings gave him a big confidence boost. Still, he wasn’t going to quit his job at the school to pursue an art career. However, a lagging economy resulted in the elimination of his position at the school. He headed north, returning to Davidson County to teach marketing at Thomasville High School, and enrolled in Appalachian State University to earn his teaching certification and obtain a degree in education, something he is still pursuing.

“I really thought when I was younger I wanted to pursue sports business, but I have this calling to teach,” said the 1986 Central Davidson High graduate. “I was offered the position as an athletic director at the school out of nowhere.”

Self-taught, Moore leans toward painting abstracts with acrylics and oil pastels. As he begins a piece, he said, he frees his mind of any preconceived notions and concentrates more on colors than images.

“As I put colors on the canvas, the painting just sort of evolves,” he said. “I don’t really think of what I am going to paint, I just think about colors. I let my mind go free.”

Designer Mickey Sharpe took notice of Moore’s paintings and asked to come see all his work. He purchased several to use in clients’ homes.

“Still this is a hobby for me,” he said. “It’s an outlet for me.”

In late 2016, a member of the Lexington Charity league asked Moore to show and sell his work in the Charity League Shoppes, which takes place each December with the League’s Holiday House showing. At first, Moore declined, as he was very busy with his teaching job and taking classes in the evening. Later, he thought better of the decision and decided to show his work.

He sold five of his abstract paintings during the three-day show that features local artisans and vendors.

“I look at art as being very personal for me,” he said. “Still, it makes me feel good that others see my work and want to buy it.”

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Information from: The Dispatch, http://www.the-dispatch.com

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