When it comes to creative expression, Geoffrey Green is artistically ambidextrous. Photography, painting, sculpture, Green can do it all.
For example, Dr. Nausheen Din, a Barrington psychiatrist specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry, was looking for something to brighten up her reception area. Green crafted a massive pop art wall mural of Wonder Woman 16-feet tall by 26-feet wide in vibrant comic book colors.
“It generates optimism,” says Dr. Din. “Despite it being rampant, psychiatric illness continues to wear a heavy stigma. Acknowledging the need for treatment is difficult, and so is waiting for an appointment in an office lobby. When clients are asked to describe how they feel about Geoffrey’s interpretation of Wonder Woman, the word that almost every client uses is empowering.”
Large-scale wall murals are still a relatively new enterprise for Green.
Photography was his original medium. He studied at Columbus College of Art & Design and was a co-owner of a photography studio shooting for ad agencies in Cleveland and clients like Dirt Devil and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum.
When he moved to Illinois, Green took a position as the creative director of a boutique advertising agency overseeing the production, design, photography, layout, and copy writing for all manner of advertising campaigns for brands like Crate & Barrel and P.F. Chang’s.
But Green wanted to branch out and explore other mediums for his own clients.
“In the corporate sector, there are many levels of management with a lot of different masters to satisfy,” Green says. “There are often many people involved with varied ideas and by the time you meet everybody’s needs, you’ve lost the essence of the initial creative idea. A lot less is lost when you work with a single client. You really have an opportunity to create some truly interesting work that way.”
One client expressed interest in a large-scale hand carved sculpture of a wooden horse. Green went out and got a carving mallet, some chisels, v-tools for the fine detail work, set up a workbench in his apartment, and carved a mahogany horse the size of a small pony. It’s really impressive, with its head reared back and its joints and muscles carved in smooth relief, ready to run.
He keeps his photography skills sharp with his own fine art work, focusing on hazy still lifes and black and white figure studies.
Green even combined the his talents as an advertising creative director with his long fostered love of grilling to self-publish a DIY cookbook called The Little Book of Grilling. Founded in the principles he learned from his barbecue-loving father, George, growing up in North Carolina, the book catalogues rubs, sauces, and the meats that they adorn.
And, of course, the photography is gorgeous. The book was a six-month process. Every weekend Green and his wife, Elizabeth, shopped for the food and props. Green grilled and styled the dishes to look mouthwatering. From classics like Smoked Pork Shoulder to really inventive foodie fare like Smoked Salt-Crusted Yellow Fin Snapper, every dish looks amazing.
Because he was designing the book for the Apple iBooks store, he set aside his professional camera and shot every picture with his iPhone. Every shot is Pinterest perfect.
But it’s the much larger canvas he has the opportunity to explore as a muralist that has currently captured Green’s imagination.
“I really like transforming spaces,” Green says. “They should reflect people’s personalities and their outlook on life. The Wonder Woman mural conveys the feeling of strength and power and creates real visual impact to the space, making it really interesting and unique.”
Which sums up the way Dr. Din and her patients feel about the newly transformed wall in the waiting room of her office.
“It’s is not watching art being put on a wall, but rather watching the wall become art,” Dr. Din says. “His attitude and presence as an artist is approachable, down to earth, and entrenched in optimistic humility. Geoffrey’s eye for color and application is so precise that I have to remind myself that it is not painted on a canvas.”