Article courtesy of the Tallahassee Democrat | Written by Tarah Jean
At the start of Noah Verrier’s career as an artist, his goal was to sell a painting a day for $99. He recently sold “PBJ & Glass of Chocolate Milk” for $1,225.
The 42-year-old native Tallahassee artist has gone viral on Twitter as his followers salivate over his oil paintings. The piece that started this cycle of virality was Verrier’s painting of “Grilled Cheese,” posted on March 2. It had more than a half million likes and over 58,000 retweets as of last week.
Verrier, who lives with his wife, Elizabeth, and four children, prefers to paint simple and everyday subjects people can relate to.
“It’s the most interesting thing for me to use stuff that’s familiar to us,” Verrier said. “I’m not doing old-timey things from the past. I like to use things from today — like Taco Bell, McDonald’s or those little cool-looking takeout containers — that sound really fun to do.”
While earlier artists would paint still lifes of fruit bowls, Verrier paints the still lifes around him, mostly everyday food.
On a regular day, Verrier can be found in a tie-dyed T-shirt with ripped jeans and sneakers on, as he paints and sketches. He creates his masterpieces in his home studio near Tom Brown Park. The room is decorated with colorfully stained wooden canvas stands, tubes of paint, cups of paintbrushes and a shelf of miscellaneous objects, including jars filled with jellybeans, gummy bears, crayons and marbles.
His favorite work so far has been his Taco Bell oil painting, which portrays a Cheesy Gordita Crunch taco, a side of chips and nacho cheese sauce, a drink and a flower in a glass jar.
Its 415,000 Twitter likes and 46,000 retweets were probably helped by Taco Bell’s retweeting it, with a caption that said, “We’re tearing up. Art can be so beautiful.”
Another of Verrier’s most recent oil paintings, “Homemade Uncrustable,” received over 213,000 likes on Twitter and more than 16,000 retweets.
Verrier was recently featured in Bon Appétit, as his work continues to have a strong online presence. The magazine highlighted the inspiration Verrier gets from old-school artists and how they led him to discover his own painting style — capturing what’s relevant to his daily life.
“I was excited, shocked and very happy to find out about it,” Verrier said, referring to the magazine’s story, published on June 1.
He has also been recognized in online sites including BuzzFeed, Mashed and Yahoo! News.
And he’s getting noticed by other fast food giants. Popeyes showed its support by commissioning Verrier’s “Shrimp Tackle Box” oil painting in April and using it for a giveaway in May. Participants had to tweet the restaurant’s post of the artwork with the hashtags #LoveThatMasterpiece and #Sweepstakes for a chance to win the painting.
Traditional art lovers are discovering his work, too. He’s recently sold his paintings to collectors and galleries in Austria, Japan, Scotland and many other countries.
Other fans? Verrier’s second oldest son, 8-year-old Jude, likes to pull his dad’s paintings from the internet and try to copy them, while coming up with ideas of his own.
Verrier sells his work on his website and marketplaces such as eBay and Etsy; he’s sold more 700 paintings on Etsy in the past two to three years.
He also uses the platforms OpenSea and Foundation to sell NFTs — non-fungible tokens — which are one-of-a-kind digital pictures of his artwork that can be purchased with cryptocurrencies. NFT art is quickly changing how artists work and is also an emerging trend for investors.
Verrier offers mentorships through Patreon, a site that allows fans to directly support the work of their favorite artists. The different membership levels include virtual critique sessions for budding artists and he creates instructional painting videos for his subscribers on the site, too.
The instructing aspect of Verrier’s art career stems from his experience as an art lecturer at Florida State University, where he taught painting and drawing courses for about seven years after graduating from FSU with a master’s degree in fine arts in 2013.
Verrier says there’s a lot of learning and skill behind his work, and he believes the process of creating his art is a sacred one.
“Every painting is like a prayer to God,” Verrier said, “and it’s a spiritual process for me. Maybe that’s crazy, but there’s a faith element for me to think that I’m inspired by something other than just me.”
Verrier looks forward to painting new things while having fun with it.
“I haven’t painted Chick-fil-A,” he added.
Contact Tarah Jean at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on twitter @tarahjean_.