POWHATAN COUNTY, Va. -- The corner of Old Buckingham and Route 60 in Plain View. May lie about an hour from the VMFA and thousands of miles from the Louvre. But the side of a barn is the perfect showcase for Tre Taliaferro's latest work.
“I’m definitely glad to have this painting out here. Everything about this is totally new to me," said Tre. “I did this to know I am capable of doing something like this.”
Powhatan's native son was commissioned to paint the county's past on a large scale.
"I painted this with house paint and I usually use acrylic," said Tre.
The mural is a departure for Tre who normally creates colorful canvases indoors for hours on end.
“I try to work on one piece a day," he said. “Basically, when I’m painting everything else doesn’t matter.”
Tre discovered a talent in his senior year a little more than three years ago and hasn't stopped. He paints morning, noon and night.
“I’ve done around 300 paintings. It is really second nature. I don’t even think about it. I wake up and go straight to the canvas.”
Painting is a solitary endeavor, but Tre surrounds himself with silent admirers peering down from canvases.
“I just find joy in being alone," said Tre. “I like peace and quiet.”
Tre's influences? A few artists you may have heard of.
“Michelangelo. Raphael. Warhol of course. That is pretty obvious.”
But the artist is staying true to his own style.
“I want everyone to be able to look at my paintings and say, ‘Tre did that.’”
Tre paints everything and everyone from landscapes and Lennon to Prince and Presley.
The 22-year-old's creations pull down serious cash too. A Taliaferro original sells for hundreds of dollars.
“I don’t consider this my job. It is my hobby that has manifested into a business.”
But Tre is pushing the pallet to new territories. For nearly two months, Tre has been recreating Rafael's masterpiece the School of Athens.
“I’m really just trying to make something beautiful,” he said.
A four by six-foot behemoth that is taking months to complete.
“I probably have another 200 hours on it," said Tre.
This quiet yet confident painter is setting a modest objective.
“My only goal is to have a museum where I am globally appreciated for the work that I do.“
Till then Tre' Taliaferro will keep painting and painting.
“What brings me joy is the reaction to my paintings.”
Inside and maybe out. One look it's clear his superior talents are in Plain View for all to see.
“Yes. Basically. Ironically enough. I never looked at it like that, but it definitely is in plain view.”
If you know of someone with an interesting story to tell, email Greg McQuade.