In 1999, Lakey began to suffer chronic health issues from overexposure to toxins in paint, resulting in multiple and ongoing surgeries, and took a hiatus from his painting, while focusing upon other outlets for his art, developing the "Unencountered" characters, and working on his book to be released in 2013. He still continues to paint, but wears protective gear and is learning to make art all over again. Other projects that take him out of the studio include sculpture, drawing, design and producing independent films.
By his late twenties, Lakey was working in auto sales, but in his personal life he had succumbed to substance abuse, and in 1986 he suffered a near-fatal drug overdose during a New Year's Eve party.
In October 1989, on his 30th birthday, Lakey resolved to become a professional artist. This experience on New Year's Eve 1986 had made such an impression on him that his entire life focus changed. After drawing and making studies for almost three years, he announced to his employer that he was leaving his auto sales job to pursue a full-time career as an artist. Lakey's start was rough, and he admits to nearly giving up within 3 months, after receiving rejections from many galleries he solicited with his early works.
At that moment, Lakey said, he realized what he needed to do. "It's kind of like a light bulb went off; so I figured I could start donating my paintings since no one would buy any." This was followed the encouragement of an art critic who had discovered one of Lakey's works hanging in the lobby of a community bank, and within a week had Lakey on a local ABC TV affiliate on a story for art for the blind in San Diego.
ABC News commentator Peter Jennings, who anchored World News Tonight that very evening in San Diego, watched the local news story on Lakey's art, and made this segment available nationally; Jennings also requested one of the paintings from the artist, subsequently donating it to the Lighthouse For The Blind in New York City. These events attracted media attention to the tactile, bas relief where the heavy, mixed media and paint is raised texturally from the
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Next >