New Master: Why I'm Painting an Exact Replica of Sistine Chapel Ceiling in My Apartment
One day this past January I decided to paint the Sistine Chapel on the ceiling of my rented Upper East Side studio apartment. I do a lot of professional high-end murals. I just painted a 400 square foot waterfall for a client and recently finished three ceilings for different people. I’m always working for someone else so I started thinking that I’d like to do this for myself. Even though it’s not my apartment, I just wanted to experience painting for me.
I don’t know if it’s some kind of reincarnation thing, but ever since I was a little kid I’ve been absolutely in love with the Old Masters: Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. When I went over to see the Sistine Chapel in Rome I just started crying—it was that overwhelming for me.
I’ve lived in my apartment for two years. I have to move out in November, and I want to finish the painting before I leave, but I keep getting sidetracked with side jobs to make a living. So I started a Kickstarter campaign to see if I can raise money to focus and not have to take other jobs, and my friend at Harley's Barbecue in Harlem helped with supplies.
I’m mostly self-taught and I’ve learned more with this project that in art school. I’ve looked at the Sistine Chapel a million times in books, but when you really start to break it down, that’s when you learn. It’s like if you’re a musician studying Mozart. But painting a ceiling is much harder than painting a wall. What I’ve been doing—which is crazy—is climbing to the top of a ladder and looking up, but it’s really hard on the neck and back.