BELMAR — Jay Alders first picked up a crayon when he was young and has colored his way into a successful career.
Alders, 35, grew up in Howell and said he has been drawing since he was almost three years old.
He started with crayons, pencils and sand, he said.
“Anything I could use to be creative with or draw,” he said.
Alders said his parents have always encouraged him to pursue his artistic talents.
“It has always been my thing — every little kid has a thing they do while growing up,” he said.
He said he sold drawings on a street corner in Howell when he was young.
“Some kids had lemonade stands, I was determined to convince people that I was going to be something someday,” he said.
As a kindergarten student Alders drew tattoos for his friends.
“A little entrepreneur, I was,” he said. “I would trade quarters, lunch money or milk.”
By using water-based markers Alders said he would draw the tattoos, then place them on backward, lick it and peel it off.
Alders knew while growing up that he wanted to be a businessman and an artist.
During his teenage and college years at Montclair University, Alders said he supported himself as a caricaturist.
After graduating in 1996 with a bachelor of arts degree, Alders said he branched off from being a caricaturist to owning an entertainment company, booking entertainers that he met over the years.
Now, Alders resides in Belmar as a self-employed businessman, graphic artist, painter and photographer.
“I am currently on an oil painting kick right now,” he said, adding in the past he has worked with acrylics, watercolors and pastels.
Alders said he has a passion for surfing and a love for the ocean, so he often is inspired to make paintings about them.
“I paint other subjects too, ” he said, adding he spent most of his oil-painting career doing figurative stuff.
“While attending college I was focused on life-drawing and drawing the human body,” he said, “these subjects are often intriguing to art students.”
Alders said he soon started to experiment with his art teachings by twisting and changing things around.
He began incorporating his passion for surfing and the ocean with what he learned in school. He said he would experiment with throwing waves into the background of his paintings.
“Then I decided — why not do the same with the foreground?” he said.
Alders said he thinks some artists and musicians want to find their style, so they follow a formula, as a result their songs all sound the same, he said.
“I don't ever want to be like that,” he said. “I always want to be able to change.”
Alders said he enjoys sepia and black-and-white photography.
“I am really inspired by a lot of vintage and pin-up poses and graphic stuff,” he said, adding he also works with computer graphics and is a geek with computer coding.
“My office often looks like NASA,” he said.
“I like things that are both artistic and edgy,” he said. “I don't like cookie-cutter stuff,” meaning creating a painting that caters to client's interest in order to pay the bills.
Alders said when he first has something in his mind to make something, he is so pumped he has to jump in his studio and start painting.
“I start working out the angles and the perspective of everything, and it's torture sometimes,” he said, “getting to the point where you want to throw it out the window . . . you really get down on yourself.
“But then you finally get it,” he said, “after the whole time and you're stoked again. The whole process is a roller coaster of ups and downs.”
The painting, “right past the light” seems to be a popular one, he said, adding he created the painting about 1 1/2 years ago.
“It's a painting I had in me, I like photography and wide-angle lenses, fish-eye lenses, cool distorted things,” he said, “When I do photography I shoot something that normally isn't seen, and I paint something that normally can't be photographed.”
Then, he said, he combines them both.
“That's the point in painting something if it's exactly like life — it's boring,” he said.
“Eventually, after doing so much photography and painting, I can kind of see things like a fish-eye lense,” he said.
Alders will have an art show 8 p.m. March 14 at Surf Taco on Main Street in Belmar. For more information on Alders, visit www.myspace.com/casper11 or www.jayalders