- Associated Press - Saturday, December 9, 2017

SELLERSBURG, Ind. (AP) - As a toddler, Evan Olinger’s parents couldn’t get him to color. Now 16, it’s about all the budding artist does.

A sophomore at Silver Creek High School, he spends his evenings after school working on photorealistic portraits.

“If I don’t have a ton of homework, I’m working on something” he said.

Evan’s body of work is primarily movie characters and actors. He has an affinity for horror movies and it shows in his portfolio - Pennywise from the new “IT” movie, Christian Bale’s Patrick Bateman from “American Psycho” and Frankenstein are among the many characters he’s rendered. He’s also drawn to music and icons such as Kurt Cobain and Pink Floyd.

“When there’s a new movie coming out or when I find something I really like I get pretty invested in it,” he said. “I just love to draw what inspires, I like to find new ways to draw it. I love drawing portraits and stuff.”

The quality of work in his portfolio is already unusual for a teenager but so, too, is his drawing technique. He focuses on one body part at a time, generally the eyes first, followed by nose, mouth and then the head shape, just about the opposite of what’s considered the standard technique.

“I like to get the details of the eye first because that’s where a lot of the expression is,” Evan said.

Andrea Olinger, Evan’s mom, says she loves to watch him work, when he let’s her, and his unique method is “refreshing” to see.

Olinger started drawing when he was 3 or 4, Andrea said. At five he challenged his grandmother to a drawing contest to pass the time at a baseball game: She came up with stick figures, Evan drew in 3-D.

“I always felt serious about drawing in a way. I always considered it a possible career choice in the future, even when I was pretty young,” Evan said.

Things progressed from there for him. When he first started he drew his own comic strips, finding inspiration in the classic “Peanuts.” Around the sixth grade he shifted from cartoons to realism after seeing other artists’ works on the social media site Instagram.

At the same time he started using professional-grade colored pencils, markers and paper.

“We’ve spent hundreds on pencils . We definitely support it,” Andrea said.

“It’s always a Christmas gift and always with a coupon,” Evan joked.

Since he made the shift to realism, he’s entered - and won - different art contests. Most notably, Olinger has won a spot in the Cooperative Calendar of Student Art, a contest for students across the state, the past four years. He plans to enter again this year.

The artist has also gained a following on the same website he discovered colored pencil portraits, Instagram. He has nearly 3,000 followers and has even had a stranger reach out to him through the site, asking permission to get a piece of his work tattooed on her. He can be found on Instagram at @evanartt.

For Andrea, the hard part of having a son with a “God-given” talent she never had is helping direct him where to go from here.

“My husband really wants to get his artwork out so people can see what he can do, but how do you go about that in today’s world. That’s our challenge,” she said.

Even though he spends so much time on drawing, Evan isn’t so sure he wants to pursue art professionally. The medical field is also enticing and provides a more definitive career path than fine arts.

“Art is definitely a possibility, I’m just not sure how I can work that,” he said.

Only in tenth grade, he has a few years to figure it out. Until then, he will continue to spend his nights drawing.

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Source: News and Tribune

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Information from: News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind., http://www.newsandtribune.com


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