By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Fifteen years ago, Marc Cottman left his job as an architectural engineer to pursue his passion and that passion has turned into a successful career as an artist.

As we celebrate Black History Month, Ron Matz has more on a man who didn’t hesitate to pursue his dream.

Marc Cottman is a self-taught artist who left his job 15 years ago to pursue his love of painting. He’s become a prolific artist.

“I was working for the state of Maryland as an architectural engineer. I started in the late ’70s and left in 1999. This is my 15th year of being a full-time artist. The only way I can describe it–I was fortunate enough to realize what I was born to do before it was too late. It was a very comfortable decision,” Cottman said.

“I had to teach myself how to paint. When I look at all the work in here, there are about 80 to 90 pieces. I must have had a few things locked in my imagination so it’s been a great journey,” Cottman said.

That journey includes Black History Month. There’s Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and, this year, a tribute to Michael Jackson. Paintings include the two Michaels: Thriller, Michael walking on the moon and a red-haired King of Pop.

“The Michael Jackson paintings are for Black History Month. Thriller stopped the world. Everybody was tuning in when it was on MTV. It really started the birth of superstar music videos,” Cottman said. “I always had this vision of Michael moonwalking on the moon. I did a painting of him in his Smooth Criminal outfit, moonwalking on the moon.”

He has two new paintings. Purple Reign is a tribute to the Baltimore Ravens and Let’s Go O’s is old school and new, from Memorial Stadium to Camden Yards.

“I wanted to show the excitement of the Ravens from a fan’s perspective. Baltimore is a die-hard sports town, football and baseball,” he said. “Let’s Go O’s has elements of old-school Baltimore Orioles. There’s Memorial Stadium,. You have the beer, hot dogs and popcorn. You also have Camden Yards.”

Cottman’s best seller is 25 scenes of the city. It’s called This Is Baltimore.

“I did it in 2011. It was an immediate hit. Once people saw it, they got very excited. It has 25 images of Baltimore. We have the arabbers, the Washington Monument, the Bromo Seltzer Tower, the Moorish Tower in Druid Hill Park, the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore and more. Baltimore is a great American city,” he said.

Cottman is a graduate of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and says he has no regrets.

For more information on his artwork, click here.

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