Living on a boat and surrounded by beauty, island artist is compelled to create
Marc Wyatt’s art is inspired by the sea. And because he lives on a boat in Galveston, he’s surrounded by inspiration every day.
Wyatt, 52, has been painting and drawing since his youth. When he was about 10 years old, his grandmother noticed his talent, he said. He started taking art lessons in his Oak Cliff neighborhood in Dallas, won first place at the state fair in oil painting at age 12 and continued through high school and college at Stephen F. Austin State University.
“There has never been anything conventional about me,” Wyatt said. “I’ve been a starving artist my whole life and cursed with this creative streak that makes me continuously seek out art. I would have preferred to have a photographic memory or something, so I could have been a doctor and been able to make a decent living.”
Wyatt has been around water and the sea for most of his life. He joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1991, and spent five years working in marine safety — saving lives and protecting the environment. He was stationed in Galveston for much of his service. He returned to Galveston in 2006, where for the past three years his home has been a 31-foot-long sailboat. He frequently docks it at Pelican Rest Marina on Offatts Bayou, but enjoys taking it out into the Gulf for a relaxing sail, he said.
“I love living on the boat,” he said. “It’s inexpensive to live on and there is a constant breeze. I love looking at the wildlife — birds and fish — and they inspire my art.”
When on the water, Wyatt photographs scenes and objects that appeal to him and re-creates those images in water colors, oils or other mediums. He doesn’t have a studio, but works wherever it’s convenient for him, he said. Occasionally, he displays his paintings at ArtWalk in Galveston in front of Luna, a boutique at Church and 22nd streets in the island’s downtown.
Wyatt also has mastered the art of airbrushing swordfish bills, an unusual art form that requires precise steps to clean and preserve the fish’s jawbone and then paint a design or insignia on it. And Wyatt has expressed himself in the past as a tattoo artist as well as a painter of wild animals, including lions, gorillas and giraffes. He also refinishes and paints firearms per an owner’s instructions.
Recently, Wyatt has turned his creative mind to furniture, tabletops and bar tops for local businesses or homes. He supports himself as a carpenter and formed a company with his 21-year-old son, Austin. The company, called Wyatt Worx, handles the random jobs the men are hired to do.
But his real love is painting, he said. His subjects are sunsets over Seawolf Park, incoming ships in the harbor, as well as local scenes in Galveston and Bolivar Peninsula. He also paints portraits — his favorite is his granddaughter. And there’s a series of fashion designs he created, he said.
“There’s nothing I’m afraid of trying to do,” he said. “I would love to have a studio and work on my art. I am cautiously optimistic about the future.”