By Maya Martin

Christopher Schove is always looking for ways to better his craft. 

The Oxford-born and raised artist has been drawing and painting from a young age and is looking to grow and develop with the help of loved ones and mentors helping him along the way.

“You always have to strive like me, specifically, I feel like I have to do that,” said Schove. “I look at other peoples’ art and it’s so detailed and I want to be able to reach that. I really like realism and that’s why I like to paint pictures of people and houses.”

The artist recently won “Best in Show” for a graphite drawing featuring a clock, a train and various glassware during an art showcase at Northeast Mississippi Community College, where he has taken classes for the past two years.

“There were a whole bunch of great art students at Northeast,” said Schove. “So when I heard I got ‘Best in Show’ it was a surprise because of the amount of talent there.”

Graphite drawings are only one of the mediums he has explored. Schove has also sculpted a cardboard tree and assembled a miniature haunted house, but he always goes back to painting.

Schove mostly paints portraits of people or places he knows or those who commission work from him. The portraits are realistic, detailed and often set against a natural backdrop.

“I wanted to draw my family and people outside my family,” he said. “I will just paint and draw things for free because I like making others happy. I painted someone a picture of their dog who passed away and I told them it was free of charge. I don’t always have to have money because it’s a good feeling.”

According to Schove, he was into art as far back as he can remember.

“Even before Pre-K, it seems like I was interested in art. I tried out soccer and it wasn’t my thing. It was my brother’s thing. And my parents, of course, picked up on it and said ‘Well we need to further develop his talent’ and what not.”

Through his parents’ encouragement, Schove found the time and resources to invest in something he truly loved.

“My family has been my biggest support system,” Schove said. “Not everyone is lucky enough to have parents who will pay for art lessons. If not for them, I wouldn’t have been able to take these lessons and get better at art.”

Schove’s mother and father helped him every step of the way on his journey, whether it was touring art colleges and camps with him or giving simple encouragement.

“… [My mom] has really influenced me to branch out and to move outside of my hometown,” said Schove. “My dad’s not known for art. It’s not really his thing, but my mom, if she would’ve taken art classes, she would’ve been a great artist like me.”

Though his parents couldn’t guide him artistically, Schove found mentors in local artists who helped develop his talent.

He was introduced to artist Chandler Williams in elementary school and she gave him crucial tips that shaped his work.

“It was really just the basics but she really helped me get more into it and create more detailed pictures with proportions that made sense,” said Schove.

Later, as he entered middle school, Schove met Kathy Haynes of Black Kat Studio. Haynes helped Schove learn how to experiment with different mediums of art.

“She would push me to go beyond my limits and work with different mediums like oil pastel and acrylic,” he said.

As he has grown and developed into his own, Schove became known to his peers and community members for his artwork.

“Kids would be like ‘Hey, can you do my artwork for me?’ and even my brother who was in high school would ask me to do his drawings,” said Schove. “ … And through high school people have asked me to paint for them and I’ve done commissions for people.”

The praise and attention is wonderful, but Schove said he always tries to remain grounded. The artist always wants to strive for better and a prideful mindset could hinder his growth.

“I try not to get a big head, even right now, as an artist because that can backfire,” he said.

Schove has just completed two years of art classes at Northeast Mississippi Community College. He regularly works on commission pieces, but those projects are not lucrative, so Schove is taking the time to figure out his next steps with the help of a new mentor.

“I’m still working on getting my name out there and I post my art to my social media sometimes,” Schove. “Now I’ve finished off two years at Northeast and I have a great teacher named Jenna Fincher, and I really liked her approach to teaching because she’s upfront and she’s not going to sugarcoat anything.”

The Oxford artist plans to attend Delta State University and earn a bachelor’s in Fine Arts, but plans are loose at the moment as he doesn’t want to miss out on any opportunities.

“I want to experience everything whether it be like ceramics or sculpting,” Schove said. “I want to get a feel for everything and I’ll see where those degrees take me in life. It’s a struggling business, so I have to figure out what works in the world. It’s all up in the air.”