Matt Kedzierski is one of the many interesting folks in our neighborhood. At age 28, this Howard County native has had three distinct careers. His first love is his art. He draws meticulous pen-and-ink views of fantasy figures, portraits and images of all things pooches.
Kedzierski hopes to have his artwork support him-- a goal since he was a teen-ager. While a student at Atholton High School, he took as many art classes as he could.
There have been a few detours: two years at Howard County Community College, and then it was time to earn some money for the rest of his education. So Kedzierski joined the Marines.
Stationed in California, he continued to sketch, sometimes to the bemusement of his barracks mates.
"They asked me what I was doing there. I told them it was for college for the free ride," said Kedzierski, referring to educational benefits provided by the armed services.
Back in Maryland, Kedzierski enrolled at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, majoring in illustration. Most of the courses were easy, he found, thanks to his art teacher at Atholton.
"They were just telling me the same things he taught me," Kedzierski says. Since graduation and his stint with the Marines, Kedzierski has continued to draw and sell his art-- though not always in the venues he had originally hoped.
"It's hard for a free-lance to make enough," he says. To make ends meet, the Clemens Crossing resident has worked for Neighborcare in Annapolis Junction in the human resources department for three years, taking a year off from work last year to market his art.
His fantasy sketches have been used as illustrations by Wizards of the Coast, a major publisher of fantasy role-playing and related games. This is the market Kedzierski hoped to enter-- and he has been well-received. Since returning to work, Kedzierski has ventured, by accident, into portraiture. His older brother Ted is a professional dog trainer. He sketched some of the dogs and soon had a new outlet: dog portraits for Ted's clients.
Kedzierski notes that he has sketched 10 dogs for every cat he has been commissioned to draw. Portraits he did for friends and family turned into commissions, too.
"I did one for a friend's birthday," Kedzierski said. "They set me up with their friends."
The private commissions are good work, but Kedzierski is itching to return to his first love -- fantasy. Occasionally the two types of art meet. He has been asked by a client to picture her as a Valkyrie -- a mythical Norse figure.
And one client wanted to be portrayed with Michael Jordan's physique, playing basketball to an arena of cheering monsters. Kedzierski plans to keep working on his art, with the aim of making what he loves doing commercially viable.
"I'm currently working on getting the portfolio for round two," he said. "I'm revamping those illustrations. I'll take another crack at it."
Changes at church
The Rev. Robert Llanos of Trinidad has recently joined the staff at Resurrection of Our Lord Roman Catholic Church. He is expected to serve the Parish for two years while he earns a master's degree in Psychology at Loyola College. A welcome also to new parish council members Les Chittenden, Don Flynn, Barbara Jeffers and Rick Radzville-- all just elected to two-year terms.
The church community is saddened that Bernie McNaughton, chairman of the parish maintenance committee for more than a quarter of a century, will no longer serve in that capacity. He still plans to be around the church, though. He moved from his home in Maryland City and has bought a new one in Laurel. He plans to divide his time between the parish he has served so long and Minnesota, where he has relatives.
McNaughton has been a big influence at Resurrection parish. He was one of the charter members of the church, having joined in 1965 when he moved to the area. In the 35 years since, he has been chairman of the parish council and present of the Men s Club, but McNaughton's longest term has been as chairman of the maintenance committee.
It is thanks to his efforts, and those of the Tuesday Maintenance Crew, that the church and its grounds look so good.