So, you got any pointers for all those slackers who opted out of formal training? While I’m not the only artist who realizes that we live in a certification-obsessed, the-more-paperwork-the-better type of world, Mr. Jeff Bertrand stands apart:

”For the most part I’m self taught..I took a couple junior college classes that mostly confused me.”

So who is this cat? And why should you care? Well, if you want a resume, he’s got it. You want paperwork? It’s a favorite medium of his. Or would you just like a long walk on the beach? He prefers long talks.

Stampeding into the professional artist arena at the age of 17, Bertrand has taken us on a “nostalgic journey” for the past decade that shows no signs of slowing down. His works have been shown in (the always art-opinionated) Los Angeles, California, as well as D.C, and has even reached as far East as Hong Kong.

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, music had a great impact on Jeff. It’s never an unfamiliar occurrence to run into a musician or a celebrity on a semi-regular basis in the music-savvy downtown Nashville. ”It’s hard being a visual artist in America’s Bible Belt [when you are] doing edgy work that sometimes has blood and sometimes dead stuff in it. It doesn’t sit well with ole’ bubba,” explains Bertrand. Nashville has also sparked creativity into Jeff, by being surrounded by music: ”Like musicians create songs and compose their music, I do the same with painting,” he states. “I create portraits with movement, ink drips and acrylic splashes that have an equal relationship on my canvas. I love how music can make you stop and remember, and I hope my paintings can do the same.”

Along with being inspired by ”music, dreams, friends, books, antique stores, and travel,” his aspirations to become more business-savvy in this are strikingly evident in the relationships Bertarnd has made in his career. With collectors like Brendan Benson (The Raconteurs), Haley Williams (Paramore), Tom Green (Comedian/MTV’s Tom Green Show), and Harmony Korine (Gummo, Kids) tucked under his belt, never accepting anything less than the best from himself has pushed Jeff to become an artist of progressive and hardworking ethics. He also shows undying devotion to his home and family. He participated in many benifits this year, and used his talents to help raise money for those who were affected by the Nashville floods. I am not only honored to have had the privilege of displaying my work alongside Jeff’s but am proud to call him a friend.

So, I ask him: “You got any pointers for all those slackers that opted out of formal training?” ”READ, absorb, ask questions, repeat… if you do decide to go to college to be an artist, minor in accounting or business.”