"I had a 26-year career in architecture and was really getting tired of the industry," Zbryk says. Back in high school, he had taken a generous helping of art classes and even won a scholastic art award for his work; he dreamed of going on to art school, but graduated during the Vietnam War and ended up in the Navy instead. "After returning from war, architecture seemed liked the best way to get paid while drawing," says Zbryk.
When it was time for a career change, going back to school in order to teach art was another logical transition. The thing was, Zbryk wasn't just good at teaching art -- he was good at creating it, too. As a student, he enjoyed testing the boundaries. "When I went back to school, I was the old guy in the room who was always pushing the limits," he recalls.
Aside from drawing and painting classes, Zbryk also took courses in ceramics, photography and printmaking at Metropolitan State University of Denver in order to round out his education. Zbryk liked working with many mediums and, he says, "All of this came together to push me to go beyond what normal is."
Hence his three-dimensional-looking art, which, as a form, probably has roots in his long career in architecture. Zbryk's pieces aren't technically 3D; the artist takes two-dimensional drawings, cuts them up and then mounts them onto raised surfaces like Styrofoam. The result is something that looks dynamic and unfixed.
Zbryk's primary mediums are marker and pen -- another nod to his past. "When I was in architecture, I did a lot of pen and marker drawings for presentations," the artist says. "Those tools, for me, are like second nature; it's almost like my hand is doing something on its own -- that's how comfortable I am with them."
One of the first things Zbryk did while in school was the wood-mounted, shellac-covered marker-and-pen rendering pictured at the beginning of this story. It ended up being his thesis for graduation. "Shellac interacts with pen to make marker do all sorts of droopy drippy things, which is really cool," says Zbryk. "Yellow shellac also adds an atmospheric touch and mood."
Keep reading for more from Scott Zbryk.