Retired BYU-Idaho art professor Vince Bodily, has been inspired by many of the great artists in history, and he hopes his work will be an inspiration for artists to come after him.

His exhibition, “An Artist’s Encomium,” will debut tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the Spori Art Gallery on the campus of BYU-Idaho. The reception and open house are open to the public.

In the collection, Bodily paints acrylic portraits of artists who have personal significance to him.

“I chose the artists I did because they’re artists who in some way have inspired me,” Bodily said.

He said he used specific colors in the works to represent not simply characteristics of the artist but colors that spoke to him about each artist’s work.

“The reason I’ve chosen the colors I have is because I want to represent colors—in an emotional way at least—connect with me to the artist...the color that I felt is the color that I painted the artist,” he said.

Bodily explained the key word of his title: encomium is Greek for “a speech in praise of something.”

“These are my paintings in praise of artists,” he said.

Bodily said he first starting creating portraits of artists in 2015, which eventual led him to create an entire series of the paintings. It actually began with Bodily wanting to write a book in answer to the question, “What makes quality artists?” It was research for that book, “Becoming Artists,” that motivated him to continue creating the portraits.

Bodily said through his research he learned the most common and important elements found in the lives of quality artists. Among those were a strong family or community, passion for work, vision, and a commitment to excellence.

“Artists were influenced quite often by their mother,” Bodily said. “There was usually reading and music in the home. A number of artists that I’ve studied could play an instrument.”

Bodily’s book that couples the portrait series, “Becoming Artists,” tells how his own background aligns with many of the things he found common in the life of the artists he studied.

“I think one of the great things that influenced me was my father,” Bodily explained. He remembers watching his father draw pictures that he said “appeared magically.”

He described that as a seminal point in creating his desire to become an artist. That desire eventually led him to a career and lifetime in art.

You can find information about the exhibit at http://www.byui.edu/spori-gallery/upcoming-exhibits.