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GREENWICH -- Jacob Houston is only a year out of high school, but he already has seen more commercial success than most artists do in a lifetime.

“He was drawing before he walked,” said Claire Houston, Jacob’s mother.

Inside a cabinet in her kitchen, a long line of Post-It notes details requests for custom work.

“The list just keeps growing,” Claire said.

Houston is featured in a group show with artists Ray Favata, Jim Lebanthal, Jack Metzger, Hannie Varosy and Regina Wickham at Gallery 668 in Greenwich. The show opens with a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. today and runs through July 13.

“I daydream a lot. That helps a lot with my imagination. I did that a lot in high school,” Jacob said with a playful smile.

His acrylic paintings range in subject from idyllic country landscapes and snow scenes to urban locales like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Paris.

“It’s always been innate. He’s always understood perspective,” his mother said.

Although Jacob enjoys painting just about any subject, architectural details inspire him.

“I like skyscrapers. I would be an architect if I was good at math,” he said.

Most of the paintings start with a photograph, often an image Jacob captured during a trip or from an Internet search.

“This one actually came from his head,” Claire said, pointing to a rolling rural landscape. “But people look at it and say, ‘Oh, I know where that is.’”

For each painting, Jacob creates several sketches on paper before actually picking up a brush.

“I usually have an image in my head of what I want to do with a painting,” he said.

While still in high school, Jacob showed his work at local venues, including the Washington County Fair Farm Museum.

“I won first place five years in a row,” he said.

People inquired about his art, and he began selling paintings. “He started to get $1,000 a painting,” Claire said.

Some paintings were so popular that several people asked to buy them.

“I wanted a lot of people to have my art work. If one person gets it, then a lot of other people couldn’t have it,” he said.

He began to produce notecards of some of his popular paintings, and he also started selling prints, which retail for $60 to $100.

“I’m trying to get better known, and my clients are spreading out more,” he said.

Through his website, he has made sales across the country, including the South and West Coast.

Always trying to improve his skill, Jacob has been taking art classes as part of his study at SUNY Adirondack.

In May, he received the Parnassus Award in Art from the college.

Although his parents are encouraging him to get a well-rounded course of studies, Jacob hopes to pursue a career in fine art after he graduates.

“We just want him to be happy. He has to follow his heart,” Claire said.


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