5 / 27

“As far as materials go, I’m just using India ink and watercolors,” Gruzis continues. “I could be an old grandma and be using the same materials.” In the years since he’s been working with ink, his technique has improved vastly, to the point that some of his still lifes have been mistaken for photographs. He does begin by dramatically lighting and then photographing the skulls, pineapples, and other elements present in those pieces, but solely for reference; the rest is a testament to his talent with a brush. “I don’t even mess around until I get to the finished painting, really. I pretty much make a small thumbnail sketch, then go straight to work on the final version.”