Waxahachie resident Leighton Autrey had his own Super Bowl dreams come true this weekend. F6 Gallery contacted Leighton in November and asked him to be a part of Art Bowl MMXI.

“They are a nonprofit gallery based out of Arlington. They are all about the art and to show off the talents of DFW artists, mostly up and coming artists. I gladly accepted,” Leighton said.

Art Bowl was held at Lincoln Square in Arlington, Texas, Suite 224. The opening reception was Thursday night and there was a really good turnout, especially considering the weather. Unfortunately, it was closed all day Friday because of the weather but reopened at noon Saturday. Check out www.artbowl.org for pictures or information.

The Art Bowl was also a unique and welcome challenge for Leighton.

“I usually don’t do sports-related art so all 15 pieces I put in the show were created for the show. I take on challenges and I’m loving the results of it. It’s not just football, it’s all sports,” Leighton said.

Leighton was also just excited about showing during the Super Bowl.

“They told me that around 300,000 people fly in for the Super Bowl. If only 1 percent of those people see my art that would be fine with me. I also like to share with people how if you put God first anything can happen,” Leighton said.

Leighton actually did his first paintings in the fall 2007 at the University of Texas Pan American, were he graduated with a minor in art. He actually skipped beginning painting classes because, to graduate, he had to have a certain amount of upper level minor classes, so he was thrown right into the fire with two advanced painting classes.

“I had no formal training and I just picked it up as I went along and made A’s in all of them. I’m glad that I didn’t take the beginner’s painting classes because I noticed that everyone painted the same, everything was cookie cutter same style, like the teachers taught them to. I just rolled in and used what God blessed me with and made it work,” Leighton said.

Leighton’s style is interesting and eye-catching for sure. An old college baseball teammate described it as “modern and ruthless.”

For Leighton, that pretty much sums it up.

“I just like the style of art that when a few feet away looks like something, but when you get up close it’s just splats and spills and paint marks,” said Leighton said, who uses every type of paint, oil, acrylic, inks, house paint and a lot of graffiti style aerosol spray paint.

Art impacts Leighton’s daily life tremendously. In addition to the art he creates and sells through his website www.leightonautrey.com and through some galleries in Dallas over the past year, he also teaches art at Palmer High School.

“I practice what I teach and if the kids never pick up one thing I try to teach them art class wise, they will see firsthand that you can’t just sit around and wait for things to happen, you have to work hard and get out there and make things happen. Hard work isn’t downloaded, it’s earned. Might be the best lesson they will ever receive in my opinion,” Leighton said.

Leighton is grateful to share this adventure with his wife, Mallary, who he met in college at Navarro College in Corsicana. They have been married since Nov. 7, 2009; they have two American bulldogs named Shae and Bear.

“I give all the credit to God because he has given me a talent that a lot of people don’t have, I’m just using it to the best of my abilities to glorify his name,” Leighton said.