CLEVELAND - Located in the small office adjacent to his living room, a long-time machinist turned full-time artist sharpens his charcoal and graphite pencils before carefully putting his hand on a canvas that has been part of his day-to-day routine for weeks—a project that resembles his first step towards living and breathing his passion.
Working as a machinist for years, until recently, Ken Pettay, of Parma, always had art in his blood—from drawing a picture of Batman from a puzzle piece in second grade to his first large-scale architectural piece he is finishing now— art always came naturally to him.
So his decision to leave his former career was a long time coming.
He decided to go big or go home with a hyper-realistic drawing of Cleveland's Rockwell Avenue— a rather quiet street but nonetheless an important one because it's the entrance to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
"I took a regular shot of Rockwell Avenue while I was waiting to pick up my brother-in-law. I went back for several days after that initial time I was on the street to capture more details of it," said Pettay.
He uses a grid to make sure the buildings, the streets and cars are in proportion, which is a technique new to him.
"Everyone I see doing these [realism] types of drawings are making them small so I wanted to go even bigger," Pettay said.
Pettay isn't drawing on any regular canvas. He took his big ideas with the hope to find a canvas to match that, and he did, at The Home Depot.
"I see people drawing on their walls. So I built this easel and then got this wood panel," Pettay laughed as he joked about his carpentry skills to build such a massive easel.
Working day in and day out for hours on end, Pettay completed the drawing after 100 hours— a feat that is quite impressive when looking at the detail.
Once, his daughter accidentally scribbled on his drawing— a minor mishap, Pettay said, after his wife left the gate open to their office.
As he continues to work on his creations full-time, Pettay hopes to land in a local studio where he can show off his work to the masses.
Watch a time-lapse video below of the 100 working hours he spent drawing and sketching Rockwell Avenue: