DAVID STONE | OUR TOWN TEMPLE
A Temple native who began his art journey by dabbling in comic books will be the featured artist at a Feb. 4 art show at Oak Park United Methodist Church, 5505 S 31st in Temple. The show will be from 1 to 5 p.m.
TJ Olivares, a Temple High School grad who now resides in Nolanville, specializes in colored pencil, ball-point pen and acrylic paints. He works as a graphic designer at Heights Printing in Harker Heights.
“I grew up in Temple, and I got started in art by drawing comic book frames,” he said. “I would copy the artist and get as close to the original as I could. I also liked to draw my favorite football players.”
“Growing up, I wanted to become a comic book artist,” he said. “I’m a big fan of the Marvel Universe — Wolverine and the X-Men were my favorites. Eventually I started creating my own characters and drawing my own comics.”
Olivares’ passion for art grew with classes at Temple College under the direction of instructor Michael Donahue, who served as TC’s gallery director from 1979 to 2018. Donahue is still affiliated with the school’s art department.
Olivares is affiliated with several local art organizations, including Artist 2 Artist Showcase and Snack & Sketch.
“Occasionally I will set up during First Friday with the Artist 2 Artist folks,” he said. “I put up a booth and show my work — paintings and prints. I do some Cinco de Mayo and El Día de los Muertos paintings for those events.”
“I’ve been painting all my life, but about four years ago I decided to start showing my work,” he said. “In addition to First Friday events, my work has been on exhibit at the Cultural Activities Center, the Temple Civic Theatre and a gallery in Waco.”
“I’m part of the Snack & Sketch group that meets in Temple. We get together for lunch and draw superheroes. I still love that comic book style.”
The Oak Park UMC show is being presented by Koollectibles by Heric, a local business that specializes in collectibles of all kinds. Heather Mueller Davis, who co-owns Koollectibles, said she is a big fan of Olivares’ work and wanted to help him grow as an artist.
“TJ’s art is striking and has a definite style that pulls you in whether it is the subject or the piece, the magical use of colors, the starkness of his ball-point pen drawings or the meticulous details found throughout his color pencil pieces or gorgeous acrylic paintings.”
“He is a humble artist whose work needs recognition,” Davis said. “His work would be a perfect fit for any collection.”
The art show is free to attend.