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Ashland comic shop hosts live painter

Artist Billy Tackett works on a painting of on Friday at the entrance of The Inner Geek comic shop in the Ashland Town Center.

Artist Billy Tackett works on a painting of on Friday at the entrance of The Inner Geek comic shop in the Ashland Town Center.

ASHLAND, Ky. — Shoppers at the Ashland Town Center got to watch a unique artist at work on Black Friday.

Billy Tackett, of Florence, Kentucky, was set up and painting at the entrance of the Inner Geek comic store.

A native of Carter County, Tackett has worked as a freelance illustrator and professional artist for more than 12 years, doing portraits and landscapes.

His paintings are comprised of acrylic house paint, flung onto the canvas by hand, and focus heavily on fantasy and science fiction themes such as Star Wars.

“It’s where my heart is,” Tackett said.

Tackett first does a rough sketch in one color as background, before hand painting by dipping his fingers in bowls of various colors.

He describes the effect as being like “an airbrush without the brush.”

He says a typical piece takes about 10 hours to do. More intricate portraits can require up to 40 hours of work.

When the painting is finished, Tackett adds a layer of clear coat as protection. He says it makes it possible for people to feel and touch the finished piece.

“Everyone loves artwork, but you’re never allowed to touch it,” he said.

The Inner Geek, which sells both new and vintage comics and toys opened at the mall 18 months ago. Last week it moved into a larger storefront, which co-owner Jared Greer said was to accommodate expanded holiday business.

Greer said business had been “really good” at the store for the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season and that Tackett was the first live artist at the shop.

“We thought we’d try it out,” he said. “If it goes well, we’d like to host more or have Billy back.”

For more information about Tackett and his work, go to www.billytackett.com.