Chris Lopata, born in Washington, DC and raised in Northern Virginia,developed an “eye” for art and design at a very early age. In high school, he had studied fine art along with graphic art and design. In college, he received an Arts degree in Communication Design. After college, he moved to south Florida in search of new opportunities. While working on drawings and paintings on the side, he worked various jobs, but something didn’t seem right yet. Along the way he was spending a fair amount of time in a friend’s salon when the enthusiasm and the love of the art of hair rubbed off. He decided to take a serious look into hair styling, since the profession is based on clients communicating what they’re looking for, and then the stylist designing it, resulting in communication design. So, while attending the American Institute of Cosmetology in Pompano Beach, he began working at All About Choo Hair Salon. And while earning his cosmetology license, he realized that his family was the most important thing, so he re-located closer to his family in Wilmington, North Carolina. Wilmington was the type of city he felt he could see himself settling down in, continuing to grow within his career and developing his art at the same time. A week after moving to the Wilmington area, he started working as a stylist at Salon Beyond Basics Day Spa. Still continuing to paint and draw, he showed the owner of the Beyond Basics the progress of his most recent piece of art, a pencil portrait of Marilyn Monroe. After one look at the piece, Kendall said, “Ok, you’re going to start drawing when you’re not with a client.” At that very moment, Chris knew he had found his niche in the perfect salon. With an area for styling hair, and a drawing table set up in another area of the salon, he would now have the best of both his worlds combined in one place. He now works with clients, cutting and styling hair in the latest trends, and then when he is not with a client, he has his area to express himself in his other artistic way through his drawings. Always looking for new projects, he would love to see your favorite photo that you would like to turn into a fine work of art. He can take a look and tell you whether or not it would work as a drawing. He can also alter photos to add shadowing and contrast in the face which is needed for the best drawing. Chris works from the original photo also when drawing as a reference in order to bring the best features of the photo to life.
Below is the original photo and Chris's finished piece of art.
Finished sizes depend on your specific needs and requirements.
Original Beethoven Portrait Finished Beethoven Portrait
Original Photo of "Wyatt" Finished Portrait
Original Photo of "Judy" Finished Portrait of "Judy"
Original Marilyn Monroe Portrait Finished Marilyn Monroe Portrait
Chris can also work to create a piece of art utilizing more than one photo. For the particular project below, he included a photo of "Nicky," Kendall's Schnauzer, and a picture of himself at one year old. He imported both photo's into Photoshop, and created a rough idea of how he wanted the piece of art to look.
Original Rough Image after Photoshop Finished Portrait of "Nicky and Me"
Working on a large scale, here are a few pieces that were sketched out and painted directly on a wall. Working on large scale pieces is the same as the smaller ones, starting with an image, sketching out an outline, and then looking at the original image to fill in the shading and color.
Original Image after Photoshop Finished Piece on my bedroom wall (Acrylic Paint)
This piece was definitely the most time consuming and challenging of Chris's work to date. It was painted for a friend of his in the game room of her house. Given a few ideas of what she wanted, which was a "pin-up girl" and the word "Chicago" incorporated into the finished piece. He suggested having the girl sit on a vintage style car, with a city background. She loved the idea. Chris used photoshop to place all the pictures together, altering them and putting in the word "Chicago". You can see the result of Chris's incredible talent below.
Original Pin-up Girl Original Vintage Car Original City picture
Original Image in Photoshop
Finished Pin-up Mural (Acrylic Paint) Another picture to show the size (I'm 6'3")