Making the Ordinary Look Extraordinary

Ted Papadoulas paints and draws how he sees the world all around him. His art is dose of his reality.

What’s it like being a freelancer?

Being a freelancer has many advantages but some disadvantages as well. One obvious advantage is the flexibility and getting to spend more time at home. Now that I have two young girls (ages 2 and 4), that benefit is key. A disadvantage can be the feeling of isolation, so I regularly schedule business or social activities out of the studio, even if it’s just meeting a friend for breakfast. The unpredictable income, workflow peaks and valleys and cash-flow irregularities can complicate life, but being able to direct your own career and manage the work according to your own priorities outweighs any shortcomings. 

How did your style develop, and how do you tailor it for each client?

Clients hire me because they like what I do. I listen to client input and accommodate requests but of course push back when I have significant reservations. Mostly, I’ve found clients open to new solutions I present as long as they address their stated concerns. My feeling about painting style is that, for the most part, your work is like your signature; unless you intentionally attempt to do something way out of character, your work comes out looking like your work.

What interesting projects have you worked on?

Recently, the most interesting project involved creating 22 original full page illustrations for the children’s picture book The Sound of All Things (Peachtree Publishers, 2016.) It follows a young boy who is the hearing child of two deaf parents during a family day trip to Brooklyn’s Coney Island in the late 1930s. I had never illustrated a book or even created more than 3 or 4 paintings in a series, so tackling 22 was definitely a new challenge. My paintings tend to be contemporary in subject matter, so depicting a time before I was born was a bit daunting. Given that this was covering new territory, the fact that the book has been so well received upon release has been very satisfying. 

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