Zach Barnard has been painting for as long as he can remember. "I just love how it completely takes me away from the real world," he said. "I can completely phase out and not really even pay attention to what I'm doing, which is so healthy for my mental state." He grew up an only child, using painting as a way to entertain himself in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia.
At the prompting of his high school art teacher, Barnard decided to apply to study art at Columbia College of Chicago, where he is now entering his senior year. It was the right decision, he said, because the city has become a huge source of inspiration for him. "Moving to Chicago was the best thing ever because I'm always finding new places to paint," Barnard said. "I especially love [the city] at night. It's so beautiful."
Not only has Chicago served as a muse for the young oil painter, but it also has become his canvas. In March, Barnard debuted an installation piece at Danny's Tavern in Bucktown. "I just love the building and thought, 'How cool would it be to take the painting off of the canvas, and make it feel like you're walking into it yourself?'" he said. Barnard completely transformed a room of the tavern into a romantic art lover's dream. The walls were almost entirely covered in his large-scale painting and Barnard even added extra touches like a hand-painted gramophone and entryway. "It was really awesome to come and have people sitting in it having a great time and not even know they were inside an art piece," he said.
Barnard said he'd love to do more installation work in the future, but for now canvas and oil paint is his medium of choice. Interested persons can check out his work on display at The Leigh Gallery, 3306 N. Halsted St., or peruse his online gallery at ZachBarnardArt.com .
Job titles Student, server, painter
Relationship status "Single and ready to mingle"
Hobbies Seeing concerts, singing in the shower, wandering aimlessly through Whole Foods and admiring all of the overpriced groceries
Recent movies watched The entire Lord of the Rings series
Fun Fact He's obsessed with pugs, especially his own, Lois.