OAK LEAF — Leighton Autrey might not be competing in the summer Olympic games but his talent will be on display in London. The Oak Leaf artist’s work will be on display at the Olympic art show hosted at the JL Gallery located near the international broadcast center.

“Every morning I look on art websites and art competition websites. I found this one for the 2012 London Olympics’ Art Show. It is an open call where any artist from around the world could enter anything that they wanted to,” Autrey said. “I entered two pieces and they selected one of them. I am one of 12 chosen from around the world. I am one of four Americans chosen for this show.”

Autrey’s work reflects his faith and his interpretations of Bible verses. The piece that was selected to be shown at the Olympics was called “Wavering, James 1:2-8.” The verses talk about that when challenges come along in a person’s life that they don’t need to be afraid to ask God for help. If they doubt their faith in God and rely only on themselves they will be tossed about in the ocean of life.

The abstract painting depicts a person in black paint in a sea of blue being tossed about in the ocean. Autrey uses mostly spray paint and oil marker pens in his work to create an urban graffiti style that he has become known for. After entering the contest in February in a digital submission Autrey found out that his work accepted for the show in April.

“The committees looked over the thousands and thousands of files and I was one of the ones that were chosen. It is a once in a life time opportunity and I am glad that I am part of it,” Autrey said. “It was two years ago that I had a showing at Zula’s Coffee in downtown Waxahachie and now I am at the London Olympics. It has been a lot of hard work and a lot of blood, sweat and tears put into it.”

His painting will be on display at the gallery but will also be taken out and put on display at the different VIP events held at the games.

Autrey got his start in art after finishing college when his mother was diagnosed with cancer.  While she was undergoing treatments, Autrey became responsible for taking care of his younger brothers.

“I was a college baseball player and I played baseball all of my life. I had it set up to go play minor league baseball after I graduated. My mom got sick with cancer and I stayed home to take care of my little brothers while my mom and dad were gone taking care of the cancer,” he said. “During that time of taking care of my brothers God really started speaking to me and told me to go into the art. I always could draw but never though that I could make a career out of it. But the Lord has other plans. I am just following his lead and he has blessed it.”

For more information about Autrey’s work, go to his website www.leightonautrey.com. For more information about the London Olympics’ art contest, go to JL Gallery website at www.londonolympics2012artshow.co.uk.

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