Painter without Paint

Jerry Bergin

He slammed the plasters on the wooden panel and slowly began blending the chalky substances together. After forming a textured background, artist Jerry Bergin, perused his various dyes until he found the perfect shade of gray. With his pasty hands, Jerry raised the airbrush to the panel and gray splattered across the wood. Carefully he traced his intricate hand cut stencils until the random puzzle became a detailed horse. 

For the last three years Jerry has created 45 different paintings for his “Urban Southwest Art” collection. However, rather than utilize the stereotypical art tools to make these large two-dimensional statement pieces, Jerry creates with materials commonly used for house construction. “I don’t use paint brushes. I don’t use oil paints, pastels or acrylics. I use plasters,” he explained. “It’s just a very nontraditional approach to fine art which I think is one of the things that sets me apart.”

It’s typical for Jerry to use dyes, inks and latex paints when constructing his artwork. “Everything I use in all my pieces was actually created to be used on walls and woodwork inside homes. I just turned it into something that would work well on a wooden canvas,” he said. Jerry explained his art is both urban and western. He’s inspired by the textures of street art and beauty of americano imagery and it’s these influential aspects which help him accurately portray the concept. “I’m trying to create these looks of old metal or old concrete, something a street artist would be thrilled to paint over,” he said. “You’ve got these very urbanized looking backgrounds juxtaposed with a cowboy or a horse but I like that.”

Many have come to appreciate the details of the painter’s eccentric creations which he said take more than 40 hours a piece to complete. Were it not for a good friend with a large social media following, Jerry would not yet be in his current position. “I wasn’t expecting anyone to love it. I was shocked. I had people ask for interviews and I had people ask if they could put them in galleries,” he explained. 

The father of three has loved art most of his life and always had a unique style. As a child he doodled, in high school he took all art classes, he graduated college with an art education degree, painted murals for Six Flags, had his own faux finish business and now runs a house painting company. In all his endeavors the artist was drawn to nontraditional art and even felt guilty for it. “It was a lengthy process for Jerry to accept and use his gift,” his wife Ali said. “I get a lot of joy watching him in his natural environment, when he’s in the flow of creating art and when he’s sharing it with others at a show.”

Over time, Jerry developed his own way of creating art and is now a painter who doesn’t paint. “I fully hope his hands will sustain what his mind and heart want to create and that he’s blessed with an audience that desires the same,” Ali said.

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