I follow quite a few artists through online and I really dig the work of John Piacquadio of The Twin Cities Urban Fly.
In this post, John provides some background on where his artwork is inspired from along with a few favorite originals that he was gracious to share.
John wrote... "I feel this body of work is a natural culmination of many aspects of myself. Some background, I grew up in The Bronx when the only time I'd fish would be once or twice a year with my father when we'd go visit Uncle Marvin on the Jersey Shore. We'd fish for bluefish and shark. These experiences have quite an impact on a 5 year old, and I would spend the rest of the year fantasizing about fish and fishing. I had the opportunity to start fishing more consistently when we moved to Connecticut when I was 12. I picked up a fly rod somewhere along the way, and taught myself how to use it by reading books.
In college, I pursued one of my passions, art, at Connecticut College where I would spend my time sneaking into the Arboretum at night to fish the pond the biology department used for research. I was chased out by security more than once. I also spent my time drinking and doing drugs.
I barely graduated due to my chemical hobbies and mental health issues, and after a stint at a mental institution and the discovery of AA, I eventually embraced sobriety. Meditation was something else I learned to help cope with depression and anxiety along the way.
Over the years, I came to realize that the same state of being I felt in meditation was pretty much how I felt when I was tying flies. It's pretty difficult to focus on anything other than the present when tying a size 18 anything!
I realized that the focus utilized on fly tying had made me intimately aware of every aspect of the fly, and I wondered if I could recreate this on paper without sketching first. Rather, I would rely solely on the knowledge imbued from repeated tying of a pattern. These ink drawing/paintings are produced with minimal brush strokes and minimal thinking, in order to challenge myself to move the process away from technique and mental processes, to a process of intuition, heart, and spirit.
Today, i am a drug counselor working with addicts who have traumatic brain injuries. I tie flies with clients because it works wonders with brain injuries and the therapeutic value is something all fly tiers are familiar. I volunteer with Project Healing Waters and fish as much as I can."