Photo by BK Fulton
“Don’t be afraid to do things differently.”
Baxter Perkinson Jr. works as a dentist by profession but has an artistic side that is extraordinary. He’s lived in Richmond, Virginia, his whole life and started painting at the age of 35. “I’ve never been away from home more than two weeks,” he adds. His paintings have never been sold for monetary gain. Instead, his paintings have been sold by charities and nonprofits, and have been gifted to public institutions like Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), his alma mater. “All of my art is emotionally based and I only paint what I like. I never do commissions,” he says. “That is the value in not selling my art but giving it away. People don’t turn down a gift. They may regift it or throw it away but honestly, I wouldn’t know if they did.”
Believers in the importance of community, Baxter and his wife, Elaine, placed their support behind the creation of the new Baxter Perkinson Center for the Arts and Education, a community arts center located in Chester, Virginia. The center will feature performers locally and from around the world. The center is dedicated to Baxter and his late father, W. Baxter Perkinson Sr.
His latest work consists of pouring acrylic (latex) paint. He says he isn’t using any brushes to complete his work. He is simply seeing where it takes him. “It is spontaneous, unplanned, and comes from me in a most individual way,” he says. While he began his artistic journey painting on canvas and then transitioned to paper, he is now experimenting with glass. “The risk of getting sliced and diced adds energy to the art,” Baxter says. He is now doing large pieces—32 x 40 inches—and plans to make a few that are larger. “I have even purchased a piece of glass 40 x 60 inches which will really add risk to my craft.”
Taking risks is natural to Baxter. He’s never been afraid to paint with different strokes. “I have always done things differently (even dentistry), so my art just lets my personality shine,” he says. “My future is open and I will keep my eyes and ears open and ready, looking for the next idea or opportunity. I am always on G waiting for O. That has always been me.”