Painting a dragon, complete with various reactions to it, as the "project in-between projects" seems just perfect for artist Steve Grzyb. He's recently slain a few dragons of his own in real life.
From years of being a marketing professional, Grzyb is used to channeling his creativity. Now he's decided to funnel his energy into painting.
"I feel I've been given a talent, a gift, and that I'm supposed to share it," said Grzyb. "I'm focused more on the quality, not the quantity, of what I'm producing right now."
The walls of his newly lit studio are like a walk down memory lane of Grzyb's life. Farm scenes, horses, pollution, cowboys, trees, clowns, people, places and the power of nature all command a spot there.
Also on display are some abstract pieces that Grzyb said he did in his college years. Other samples of his work can be viewed on his website.
One new element he said he hopes to bring to the area is encouragement for young artists. "When I was a kid, there weren't many or any role models for someone like me who was interested in art. There was no one to really talk to about it. I'd like to serve as that type of person for our local kids now," he said.
"I would like to tell young people today to follow your passion."
Grzyb said when he grew up, "guys didn't do art." He said his family moved six times during his later years of school, so it was hard or impossible for him to play on sports teams, which was the more typical activity for students to do.
"Being involved in art is not about being male or female, and I'd like aspiring artists to know to follow their instincts," he said.
Experimenting with various forms of art is nothing new to Grzyb; some of his pieces entail working with rice paper and corrugated cardboard to get interesting textures and effects.
Revamping his own life six months ago led him through selling a house in Wildwood, a divorce, and changing his career. "If I become a starving artist, at least I'm doing what I love," he said.
This painter said he has been doing so off and on for the past 40 years, including oils on canvas, water color, acrylics and colored pencil pieces.
In his prior career, he held positions of producer, director, promotion manager, advertising manager, and director of creative services for TV stations in St. Louis, California, Washington, D. C., and West Virginia.
His work won local and regional advertising and marketing awards, plus the International TV & Film Festival of New York Award, the National Broadcast Promotion/ Marketing Executives Gold Medallion Award, National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Award, and national Telly awards.
From 1990 to 2004, Grzyb developed and grew the media consulting division of Kupper Parker Communications, as a partner in the publicly held communications and marketing firm with offices in St. Louis, Louisville, Kansas City, Memphis, and New York.
He then had his own company, SG Media Marketing, since March 2004.
Now Grzyb hopes to revitalize interest in old town Eureka. "In my first official month of setting up shop, it's been so sad to see the number of businesses closing here," he said. "It's the perfect place for arts and culture."
He said he would like to start an adult gathering spot in Eureka, much like a place he knows that was established in New Haven, MO.
"We have a lot of empty buildings here. Let's get something going," Grzyb said.