Ridgefield’s Greg Herzog uses his eye for character traits to paint DNA-coded portrait of Sam Walton

RIDGEFIELD – Inspired by Alice Walton and her Crystal Bridges museum, Ridgefield resident Greg Herzog proposed to create a color-coded DNA painting of Walton’s father, American entrepreneur Sam Walton.

When he first got into color-coded DNA illustrations 20 years ago, Herzog said it was something he came to through his fascination with what people do for succeed and why they do it. He said he found an algorithm that uses dots to represent the subject of the artwork.

“If you were a color or a series of colors, what would you be?” Herzog said when explaining his artwork. “You have a lot of different dynamic parts of your personality – what would it look like if it was color coded and weighted accordingly?”

Herzog said there is a sort of inverse relationship in art where, for example, one of the most dominant colors is black but, because of the way the colors are weighted, viewers may see some red.

“It’s literally in the eye of the beholder,” he said. “People are fascinated by the work or the concept, but that’s how art is supposed to be. It’s very subjective. »

Pieces produced using the color-coded DNA painting technique trademarked by Herzog include a painting of Prince William and Kate Middleton, which sparked interest from ‘Time’ and ‘Newsweek’ around the royal wedding in 2011 Herzog also created a painting of Emily Parker. , one of the students who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook tragedy, as well as a painting by investor and Greenwich resident Ray Dalio.

“With each, they are completely unique,” ​​Herzog said of his paintings. “I guess that’s really where art meets science meets math. I guess the best way to describe it (is) I’m an artist or painter conditioner.

Looking at the way art is structured today, Herzog said it’s hard to be unique as an artist. The color-coded DNA art, he said, “literally came to me and I have different conflicting traits and (thought) ‘what would it look like if it was coded?’ It’s like a chemist who finds out what it would look like and then tries to share it with others.

Although he creates art for commissions, Herzog describes himself as “very grounded in the work of art” and whether he makes money from his work or nothing at all, he is more focused. about sharing his art and getting people to understand and appreciate it.

Beyond his artwork, Herzog has run his private fitness business Herzog Body Tech LLC, 383 Main St., in Ridgefield for 27 years.

When the “CBS Sunday Morning” TV show aired a segment on Alice Walton and Crystal Bridges a few weeks ago, Herzog said he thought it would be nice for Walton to have a color-coded DNA painting of his dad. Best known for founding retailers Walmart and Sam’s Club, Samuel Walton died in 1992 at the age of 74.

In addition to being the heiress to the Walmart fortune, Alice Walton is the founder of Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Ark. Founded as a nonprofit charitable organization in 2005, Crystal Bridges opened its doors to the public in 2011 with a mission “to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature, with no admission charge,” according to Walton’s website www.alicewalton.org.

“It looks really eclectic and really interesting,” Herzog said of Crystal Bridges, “and I thought it would be really fitting for her to have a color-coded, contemporary abstract DNA painting that no one else knows. ‘nothing else could do to his father.’

Herzog said he sent Walton a letter and contacted Crystal Bridges to express interest. In the response he received, Herzog was informed that the museum was reviewing unsolicited artwork and artists on a quarterly basis and that they would respond to him, he said.

“It could be great if and when they contact me again,” Herzog said, “but if they don’t, I’m happy with what I did.”

Reflecting on the spark of inspiration he received while watching the “CBS Sunday Morning” segment, Herzog said, “There are a lot of times where, on a regular basis, I’m done with painting, and all of that. ‘All of a sudden, I get emotional about something. It took me years to move on and I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to do this.'”

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