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Former prosecutor plays with color and form

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Red Bank artist Larry Young displays a few of his latest works at Graffiti Gallery in Hill City.

Red Bank resident Larry Young spent 25 years as a prosecutor, but now uses his analytical skills for his art, which is currently on display in Hill City’s Graffiti Gallery.

“I’ve always drawn, and seriously thought about being an art major,” said Young, who instead chose the more lucrative law school route. “For the rest of my life it came in spurts.”

Upon his retirement in 2000, Young took drawing and painting courses at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

“I enjoy formal instruction,” he said. “I went to a different mental level.”

Most of his works were abstract landscapes prior to his stint as a UTC student, when he began to delve into figure drawing.

Exhibiting at Graffiti has encouraged Young to flex his creative muscles and produce more work, as he feels he wants his work to move in the same direction he sees the gallery moving toward, he said. Young said his work, which has some impressionistic influences, blends his love of travel and abstract landscapes. He describes his works as splotches of color interacting.

“I’m most inspired by travel,” he said. “There’s a total change of colors and form. Some people are very detailed; I use a lot of color and paint emotionally.”

Evidence of his recent travels, two grand tours of the entire United States, can be seen in his subject matter, from the Grand Canyon to the California coast.

“I enjoy seascapes and coastlines,” he said. “It’s an environment I’ve never seen before; it’s so different [from the Chattanooga area] you just remember it. It makes a good subject for me.”

Young said he likes to go on YouTube and watch other painters as they go through the process of creating.

“It’s something new that wasn’t available to people until recently,” he said of the social medium. “You see there actually is a structure and composition as you watch them take brushes and draw on huge canvases.”

Young’s own works usually involve a process lasting three to four days, he said, and he often paints over a piece several times to get it right.

Recently he began experimenting with new materials, such as foam used for home insulation.

“I started thinking about nonconventional things you can do,” said Young, who shaped the foam into elongated nudes. He said he likes the idea of working with a material he lacks the ability to control. “Often the process becomes the important thing. You let the material do whatever it does; let it create itself and just let things happen.”

Young has participated in shows throughout the years, but Graffiti is the first gallery to display his work.

“I’d been hesitant to show because I wasn’t confident that what I did would be accepted,” he said. “I took that step here and have had a very favorable response to the things I’ve done.”

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