The Frederick News-Post

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — When Seth Moulden was a boy, he would watch his father, professional artist Doug Moulden, paint in the family’s living room.

Seth would try to replicate the things his father created, he said, but would get angry when he realized he couldn’t. Instead, he would end up carving his name into anything and everything available to him, including furniture.

Later on in his youth, while still drawing and painting alongside his dad, Seth got into spray painting and wood burning. There was even one Christmas that he made wooden containers, hearts and other similar items and gave them to all his family members as gifts, he recalled.

“I’ve always just been drawn to art that had a long life,” said Seth, 23. “The more permanent it was, the more I liked it.”

Seth graduated from Tuscarora High School in 2007, and after working numerous jobs and taking one art class at Frederick Community College, finally found his calling in tattooing. After completing a one-year apprenticeship at Snakeman’s Tattoo Studio in Frederick, he now works as an artist at Gus’s Tattoo Studio downtown.

Doug, 56, who has been a professional artist all his life, continues to show his work in Frederick and throughout the region, and has taught art at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center for about three years.

And despite having taken two different paths professionally, Seth said his father always encouraged him to be successful, and that attending all of Doug’s art shows growing up — or, rather, being forced to attend, he joked — has certainly had its benefits.
All in the family

Doug began painting and drawing when he was about 4 years old, sitting alongside his mother, who was also a prominent quilter, he said.

Influenced by artists such as Monet and Leonardo da Vinci, he was always interested in landscapes or paintings that invite the viewer into the scene, he said. He knew he wanted to be a painter and a sculptor and obtained a degree in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University.

After working in factories for about 12 years to support the family, Doug was able to pursue art professionally in 1996 after his wife, Beverly — a fellow sculptor he met at VCU — obtained her certified public accountant license, he said.

Doug typically shows his work in about two to three group exhibits a year and also has about two solo shows annually, he said. His work is on display at The Orchard Restaurant, the Brunswick Branch Library and C. Burr Artz Public Library, among other places.

It typically takes him 200 to 400 hours to complete one of his heavily textured acrylic paintings, he said. He mostly gets inspiration from scenes taken in on long morning hikes with his wife and dogs, he said, but he’s also painted from photographs of places he saw in Colorado, for example.

“It’s a painstaking process,” he said. By applying many thin layers of acrylic paint to wooden panels, he is able to achieve a unique, abstract look.

“The surface is sometimes very rich and thick from the built-up layers, so there’s almost a sculptural quality to the surface itself,” he said. “And the wood panels add shape and form. Because a piece of wood can be bowed or curved in and out, it just adds another sculptural layer to the painting.”
Like father, like son —-sort of

Seth said Moulden family vacations always included art in some way. When the family would travel to his roller hockey games (Seth reached the professional level in the sport), they would stop at art museums and galleries.

About five years ago, he was one of seven artists who won a $500 prize for designing a bike rack, all of which were built and installed in Cumberland.

It was around that time that Seth also attended a tattoo convention in Baltimore, which he said captivated him and sparked his interest in pursuing tattooing professionally.

He began tattooing himself at age 18, first working on a design on his calf using cheap equipment, he said.

“I stopped doing it because I realized I had no idea what I was doing,” he said. “If I could promote anything, it would be to tell people to learn the proper, correct way to do (tattooing).”

Seth went around Frederick, getting tattooed at essentially every shop, seeking an artist to accept him as an apprentice, he said. He now has more than 20 tattoos.

“I basically was rejected by every place I went until I found Steve (owner of Snakeman’s),” he said. “Steve had a similar story — he had taught himself and never really had a teacher — and saw that I really had the passion and the drawings.”

Of tattooing, Seth said he most enjoys taking people’s ideas and turning them into more than they can imagine.

“This is more permanent than graffiti. My art is living in these people, walking around, and it speaks for itself.”
Lessons learned

Doug, who works out of a chicken-coop-turned-home studio, has an upcoming solo show at the Washington County Arts Council Gallery next month.

At one point, he said he would have preferred Seth to pursue a career with a higher earning capacity, but realized as Seth kept creating that this was his passion, he said.

“I’m really proud of the fact that he’s been able to create his own path and do what he needs to do to be a successful artist, and that he’s been working so hard at it,” Doug said.

Seth said he always did his own thing and never desired to be just like his father; he knew that all Doug wanted was him to be successful and happy, he said.

“It wasn’t until after high school — after I had made a lot of mistakes and went through a million dead-end jobs — that I realized the only way I could truly be happy was around art,” he said.

“When I realized doing art was something that could make my parents proud, that’s when I stopped doing what I was doing and took it seriously.” He noted that from his father, he learned how to network in the art community, sell himself, and that “greatness takes time and effort.”

Doug said he understands Seth’s compulsion to create art, because it is in him as well.

“He would continue to draw and make things even if he didn’t have a job in it, even if it didn’t make him any money,” Doug said. “Sometimes you can make a good amount of money doing art, sometimes you don’t make anything at all …
“But you continue doing it.”

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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