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Painting is a Breeze for Raleigh Airbrush Artist

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RALEIGH — A Raleigh artist went to school to be a doctor but ended up painting T-shirts at the beach for a living. Today, the artist is one of the most sought after illustrators in the country.

Chances are, if you have ever seen one ofDru Blair's paintings, you may have thought it was a photograph. That is because Blair is a master of the air.

"Well, the airbrush is a tool that can get the most subtle nuances of texture and gradation. It's almost invisible to the eye," says Blair.

Blair's time in the studio moves much slower than a photographer's time in a dark room, but the results are astonishingly similar.

"Yes, I enjoy that moment that the viewer and the spectator realizes that they have been tricked into seeing an actual painting that they thought was a photograph," he says.

Dru Blair is a commercial illustrator whose work can be found in familiar national print ads, Star Trek movie posters and book covers.

"You walk into any book store and there are probably 50 to 100 novel covers that I've done," says Blair.

One of Blair's works in progress is also one of his favorite subjects.

"The Air Force doesn't commission me to do these. It's a hobby for me. I enjoy aircraft," says Blair of his military works of art.

The prints are so popular, especially among the military, that Blair has become a welcome guest on several air bases.

With every picture the object is the same: to take a human creation across the line, into a real moment frozen in time.

"That's fun for me I enjoy that moment that they've been fooled," says Blair.