Born in Richmond, Virginia, Forrest Young began his art career while still in elementary school, creating pen & ink sales item images for the shops at Colonial Williamsburg’s winter catalogs. While attending middle school, he drew several full-color illustrations for WEBCO International’s company annual report. As a teenager, Forrest began apprenticing with local muralist, James Patrick Kuhn (Happy The Artist), assisting him with the completion of several large-scale jobs for Heilig Meyers and MCV Hospital.
After graduating second in his class from Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) Communication Arts & Design program, Forrest went on to study with Mark English, Gary Kelly, Sterling Hundley, Greg Spalenka, Anita Kunz, and George Pratt at The Illustration Academy, receiving a full portfolio-based scholarship. That same year, he got into the Society of Illustrators West 47 showcase, and created panels for the graphic novel, OddGod #1, which also featured Marvel artist, Riley Brown.
Over the years, Forrest has passionately shared his experience and knowledge in countless state institutions, including: The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, The Visual Arts Center of Richmond, VCU, George Mason University, the public schools systems of Henrico, Fairfax, Lynchburg, and Chesterfield, as well as every library branch in Virginia. His artwork has been featured in: The Society of Illustrators, Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, CMYK Magazine, Brick Magazine, Style Weekly, and Virginia Journal of Education.
Forrest’s series, “Lyric Portraits,” is a conceptual approach to drawing, which he has used to imbue his works with more meaning. His portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr., composed of James Taylor’s lyrics to, “Shed A Little Light.” was autographed by the songwriter. PBS stations have used his lyric portrait of Mr. Rogers & Jeff Erlanger singing, “It’s You I Like,” to promote their annual Mr. Rogers Sweater Drive.
Also known professionally as The Emergency Drummer, Forrest has made a parallel career as a recording and gigging musician. His session drumming for VGO Productions helped them win three Emmy awards for various PBS documentaries. One of Forrest’s biggest influences as a young percussionist was Neil Peart of the Canadian band, Rush. After his untimely passing in 2020, Peart’s family asked to use Forrest’s lyric portrait of Neil at a memorial charity auction.
Forrest currently lives in Richmond, Virginia with his wife Holly with their two dogs, Marf and Lilly, and their two cats, Emilio and Peeta. He looks forward to creating many more “Lyric Portraits” in the coming years, helping to make a positive difference in the world, connecting with more people, telling more stories through art, and improving his craft.
Youtube Channel: Forrest Young - Art Thru Z