Artist Larry Moore loves to tell a good story. He may work an allegory into his paintings, or he may simply paint a narrative he has created in his imagination. His background in narrative illustration and graphic design for theaters and book authors piqued his interest in the art form of telling a good story. And he’s OK with those who make up their own stories about his paintings. “People may invent their own stories about what my painting shows even though I assign a story to it and give a hint in the title,” says Moore.
Moore’s latest storytelling series, Intrusion, communicates narratives about wildlife in abandoned spaces. The theme of the series asks the question: Who is intruding on whom? The thought-provoking series makes an environmental statement about the coexistence between wildlife and humans. Most of the paintings are gouache, which is an opaque watercolor, on paper or oil on wood, and they are humorously titled to get Moore’s point across, such as Cheetahs Never Prosper and Junk Yard Hog. Or there’s Runner, which depicts a cheetah sprinting through a room where there is no space to run. “They are a lot of fun to paint,” Moore says. “It has been a surprising series that people really enjoy. I love doing narrative art but wanted to come up with a series of paintings that’s interesting and unique to me. I paint them to be possible but not plausible.”
Moore is also a creative coach, teaching the creative process that he uses to brainstorm new project ideas to other artists. After teaching college classes, he received a request from the college’s advisory board to design a critical thinking course based on his creative process. Now, he travels nationwide teaching a four-day abstraction and creative thinking workshop. This fall, he plans to add an online version of the workshop to his repertoire. “I teach people how to come up with ideas. Some artists may feel stuck and need a little help coming up with new material,” he says. “I teach them how to come up with a lot of ideas to get that one good idea. I try to help students be problem finders and not just problem solvers.”
Moore says he loves teaching others and is rewarded by seeing a shift in a student when the lightbulb goes off. “We assume all artists are creative, but later-in-life or Sunday painters may need help,” he says. “I often see lots of growth in my students over the four-day principles of abstraction workshop.”
Moore has outlined his idea generation process in a book that he sells on Amazon. Fishing for Elephants explains time-tested processes used by famous creatives throughout history in a succinct and useable format. “In the nearly 30 years of my teaching and workshop instruction, I have witnessed the same patterns over and over again in the students. People are afraid to take chances, unsure about exploration, living on assumptions based on what others told them was the ‘correct’ way to do something,” he says. “What started as a challenge became a mission for me, a purpose borne out of a lifetime of problem-solving and ideating. I want everyone to have these skills. And they can be learned.”
Moore recently began a collage series incorporating animals and a bird series inspired by an Audubon documentary, all using his creative process to add them into the Intrusion series. He recently completed a colorful, lively animal-themed painting for a children’s hospital, a gift that he says is “to give patients happiness.”
Locals can see his work annually at the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition. Several galleries represent him across the country, including Gallery Wild in Jackson, Wyoming, and locally Moore’s work hangs at Horton Hayes Fine Art on State Street in Downtown Charleston.
Dana W. Todd is a professional writer specializing in interior design, real estate, luxury homebuilding, landscape design, architecture and art.