How many faces must a face painter paint to become a recognized painter of faces? Ask Gary Cole, a 67-year-old father of six children, grandfather of 12 grandkids, husband to Joanie, former business owner, a 39-year resident of Flower Mound, and an extraordinary artist.
“I owned a face paint company for 20 years,” Cole explained, “and I started painting faces at local events to promote my business. It was fun and I was good at it.”
“One year, I decided to enter a face painting competition in Scotland. The rules were to paint the entire face, from hairline to chin. We were told to use a minimum of three colors and each painting had to be recognizable. In other words, the design had to be recognized as a dog, cat, or clown. Finally, each face had to be different.”
Are you ready for the results? Cole painted a different face every 16.5 seconds or 217 faces in one hour. He’s listed in the Guinness Records Book as the fastest face painter in the world.
COVID-19 forced Cole to shut the doors on his company. He still paints faces at festivals and fairs but, today, he’s focused more strongly on his murals and wood carvings.
“The murals are commissioned,” Cole explained, “and I’ve been doing quite a few of them lately for local businesses and residences. I tend to target facilities geared for children because they’re colorful and fun to do. I’ve always felt the need to enjoy my artwork, and I get that pleasure when it’s inspired by kids.
“I’ve been attracting some nice notoriety for my murals recently. It’s a very satisfying feeling. So far, I’ve painted only interior murals, such as the life-size zebra at Little Smiles Dentistry.”
Cole is actively seeking mural commissions. He approaches each one as a unique artistic challenge, making certain he understands what the client wants before picking up the first brush to begin his interpretation of the subject.
Most home and/or business owners share a common denominator when it comes to potentially messy projects in their homes or offices. That is: please get it done as quickly as possible, so I don’t live in chaos for days or weeks or, heaven forbid, months.
Well, remember Cole needs 16.5 seconds to paint an entire face with at least three colors in a clearly recognizable design.
“I can paint a typical 20 ft. interior mural in approximately 15 hours,” Cole said. That is phenomenally fast. The lady of the house can go out for a mani and a pedi and meet a friend for lunch on Saturday. On Sunday, she and her husband can join another couple after church services, and, when they return home, the mural is finished. Cole has cleaned up and loaded all his supplies in his car.
“I recently painted a huge mural in an Argyle home’s media room that was a real joy,” Cole said. “It’s based on the fantasy book series “The Stormlight Archives” by Brandon Sanderson.”
There’s his wood carving, another artistic outlet Cole enjoys.
“I carved a 5’ Great White Shark a while back that won the Texas State Fair,” he said. “I paint my carvings, and that one is hanging in
“I’ve also carved an 8’ 5”, true to size, giraffe. I intended it for one of my grandkids but, when it was finished, I realized my grandchild could never get on it by himself. It’s now in my backyard. They play with it and around it when they come over.”
Joanie, Cole’s wife, works at a hospital.
“And I have a day job,” Cole added. “I shuttered my business 2 ½-years ago and became a buyer of raw materials for a foundry in Dallas. It has certain artistic aspects to it. I enjoy it and it leaves me enough time for my other pursuits.”
Anyone wanting to contact Gary Cole may do so at firstname.lastname@example.org