The Capital

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — David Jeon straps a mask to his face and puts on a pair of gloves.

He grabs a can of spray paint out of a box and begins to cover a piece of paper atop a table.

In seconds, a crowd gathers as landscapes and superhero images form.

It’s been that way ever since Jeon, 24, first came to City Dock in Annapolis to paint in 2013.

It was the same year he visited New York City and saw spray paint artists for the first time.

Jeon, who used to teach watercolor art in South Korea, was so taken with spray painting he studied YouTube videos to teach himself and practiced four hours a day after waiting tables at a restaurant.

Then, he quit his job and began painting 14 hours a day. To support himself, he sold the ones he liked.

Jeon first set up shop in New York, but moved on after two months.

His next stop was Virginia.

Equipped with a student visa to attend Northern Virginia Community College, Jeon, a Germantown resident, attempted to paint in Alexandria but was ticketed for not having a permit.

“I was looking for some place and I heard Annapolis was popular for tourists,” he said.

Jeon operated without a permit at first and received a citation — but got the necessary paperwork in March.

He can be spotted Fridays through Sundays at City Dock.

The rest of the week, he works as a consultant for a firm that pairs foreign exchange students with colleges.

This fall, Jeon will continue his education at Ivy Christian College in Fairfax, Virginia.

He transferred there from the community college because the tuition is cheaper.

His dream school is the Maryland Institute College of Art — but the international student tuition is $43,870 per year.

In the meantime, he’ll continue to spray paint, even though he’s aware of potential health problems from the fumes. His art already causes him headaches and loss of appetite.

“This is what I do,” he said. “This is my ability. People are happy when they are seeing me paint.”

He said he typically sells 100 paintings a weekend and people also order from his website.

Smaller paintings are priced at $20; the larger ones are $40.

In order to create the images, Jeon creates a pattern that he practices at home, over 100 times.

“People think, `Oh, he’s creating these paintings,’ but it’s not (improvisation). It’s practice,” he said. “If I (make a mistake), I just rip it up and (start) again.”

Jeon uses tools such as rolls of duct tape or a wide blade putty knife to get shapes like circles or lines.

For superhero images, he’ll use stencils he makes himself.

His favorite painting is one of the eye in Spider-Man’s mask with the skyline of New York City inside.

It was one the first paintings he sold Sunday afternoon.

Then, he immediately began to recreate the image.

“People like Spider-Man, so I always try to make better Spider-Mans.”

(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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