Winter Park, FL - In just 48 months, Winter Park artist Greg Byrd has turned his unconventional paintings into a new trend – along with a coveted spot at this year’s Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival.
In a call-for-artists competition on Facebook arranged by Tuni's, Byrd and three other artists secured the right to feature their art on Park Ave.
The Sidewalk Art Festival is one of the most prestigious juried outdoor art events, with 350,000 visitors enjoying the show every year.
"We had 1,100 applicants for the show," former art festival president and current board member Sarah Arnold told the Orlando Sentinel yesterday.
In addition to the four artists selected in the Facebook competition, this year’s festival features the artwork of 225 applying artists from around the country – 62 of which were winners from the previous year.
"So, with 62 of those 225 slots already taken, it's highly competitive," Arnold said.
Byrd has gained rapid recognition for his unique interpretation of the female beauty into abstract expressionism.
“The only artists that paint like [Byrd] are dead,” local buyer Anthony Asenjo said. "His art captures the vitality of a person's humanity that you can just feel.”
Utilizing an unconventional mix of Picasso, Jackson Pollak and Freud, Byrd uses his subject’s psyche as the starting point for his paintings.
“I capture the style, sex appeal, personality and character,” Byrd said. “I then bring that to life on the canvas.
“Despite the physical presence, it’s the inner beauty of her feminine nature that reflects who the girl really is.”
While the paintings are based on the same premise – the female subject – the contrasts between each are stark:
One vivid example shows a vivid yellow background illuminating the canvas with vitality, another displays a dark expression with skulls.
“One girl had her demons, as so many of us do,” Byrd added. “Hers just came across more and translated into a darker manifestation.”
Much to Byrd’s delight, his unconventional approach has resonated heavily among local art buyers.
In less than two years, the Winter Park artist has sold 200 paintings.
“People literally look at it for 25-30 seconds,” Byrd said, “and then they’ve made the decision to pick it up and buy it.” “Some of my clients even go into a personal description of the piece and say it speaks to them”
Moreover, in less than one year, Byrd’s become the top seller at the Tresor gallery on Park Ave.
The 54th annual Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival takes place over the weekend at Central Park in Winter Park.
Greg Byrd’s paintings are available on http://gregbyrdfineart.com/