By JUSTINE LOOKENOTT
WOODSTOCK, Ga. — Tracy Snyder, 49, has turned his childhood love for art into a successful career.
“I was always drawing and painting, anything really with making something,” Snyder said. “Making, building, tinkering with tools, but I did a lot of drawing just on my own.”
Snyder is a freelance advertiser and art director. He is also an artist, specializing in painting portraits and landscapes. He is married and has four children.
Snyder has enjoyed all types of art since he was a child, but did not know what he wanted to do as a career.
He mostly did art for fun on his own while growing up in Grayson, Kentucky, and did not take an art class until his senior year at East Carter High School. After he graduated, he received an art scholarship and started to take core classes at the local community college.
It wasn’t until his year at Ashland Community and Technical College in Kentucky that he realized there may be a future career for him with art. The scholarship required that he take art classes, so he took painting, art history, and sculpture to count as electives. He enjoyed those classes and began looking into art as a career.
Two of his art teachers (one from high school and one from college) pointed him to some careers involving art that he did not know about. Before that, he did not think he could make art into a successful career.
“When you’re a kid you don’t know much about careers,” he said. “I knew that it was hard to make a living as an artist, so I just figured I was going in a different direction.”
Snyder then began considering the careers his teachers suggested for him. He had an interest in architecture and began to look into it before realizing that he did not like math classes.
He finally decided on graphic design and started looking at art schools. He liked the Art Institute of Atlanta best, so he moved to Georgia. He earned an associate’s degree in visual communication.
From there he became a freelance advertiser and art director for several small businesses. But eventually his love of drawing became a big interest for him again.
In 2001, he had a photograph of his son that he liked. Originally, he wanted an artist friend of his to paint it for him, but that never happened.
“I just said, ‘Well I’ll try to paint it myself,’ because Christmas was coming up and I wanted to do it for Jennifer (his wife) for Christmas,” Snyder said. “It’s a terrible painting, I look at it now and realize how bad it was.”
He continued to draw pictures of his children and from there attended several workshops to improve his skills. He became a member of the Atlanta Portrait Society after attending a few meetings. Eventually he started to do a few commissions and continues to do so today.
His interest in portraits soon expanded to include landscapes as well.
He has shown his works in art shows and has entered several competitions in which he has received ribbons.
Snyder is also married to a fellow artist, Jennifer Snyder. She does not sell her art, but does teach art classes. She views art as a very personal and spiritual act.
“When I make something with real beauty, goodness, and truth, I’m usually thinking about something and asking God to be a part of that so I can work out whatever that is,” she said.
Jennifer Snyder likes to draw and paint, but her most recent interest is painting with hot melted wax, which allows her to focus on the texture of the painting.
The two do critique each other’s work, although Jennifer Snyder says her husband goes too easy on her, while she is not afraid to state her mind.
She says that while the two are opposites in many ways, being an artist helps them connect on many things. But she has other opinions about him as well.
“I mean look at him! He’s hot!”