Archives for category: Donald Collins

Ever-sporting an infectious grin, wild silver hair and a lead pencil, Don Collins is as much of a die-hard social activist as he is an enthusiastic artist. One of the quirky Texan’s earliest creative memories centers around the gift of coloring books, Crayons and blank sheets of paper given to him by various family relatives. “All of the women folk were constantly saying, ‘He loves the colors, he loves bright’ – – and I did. I still do,” Collins relates with a laugh. Although he remembers attending every art class offered up through grade 6, Collins’ formal art training reached its peak in 1972 when a NASA employee-turned-art-teacher offered the 19-year old, then serving a year-long prison sentence, a series of one-hour art lessons. That seed of artistic expression would prove to lay dormant, however, over the next forty or so years because once released from prison, all of the sketches and other artistic pieces that Collins had created were thrown out; he didn’t pick up a pencil or paintbrush again until 2008 when a dramatic sensory experience at a local music concert breathed new life into Collins’ artistic endeavors. Now, almost two and half years later, the man with a perpetual twinkle in his eye is so passionate about art that it is almost impossible to stumble upon Collins without a sketch pad, pencil and color in hand at literally any time of day or night.

Collins best describes his art work as free-form liberationism, often incorporating his passion for social change with his view of the world around him. “Like impressionism or expressionism,” explains Collins, “my painting is all of the above, depending on the music I’m listening to and the mood I’m capturing and how I throw my paint. Life’s your canvas,” he continues. “Paint it!” The dedicated sketch artist most often finds his inspiration from forms around him, whether they be trees in the park — a representation of worship as the altars of a living God, notes Collins — circles of homeless men or even the goblet shapes during Sunday’s communion. Although proficient in a wide variety of artistic mediums, Collins gravitates towards watercolor, acryclic and soft pastels as well as towards charcoal, pen and ink, and lead.

Acting as the energetic mastermind behind NoStudio Studios, a holding space for homeless artists and itinerant souls with a bent towards creative self-expression, Collins’ personal viewpoint and encouragement to others it “to be true to yourself, be true to your heart, be true to your God, and,” he concludes with conviction, “you will create beautiful art your whole life.” It is no great surprise that this mantra serves as a source of inspiration for all who cross the artist’s path.

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