Rock Art Brings the Beauty of Nature Indoors at the Utica Office

James Udovidchik geometric painting office

Our resident artist, James Udovidchik, was commissioned to create a unique painting for the new office expansion at our Utica headquarters. James works in Accounts Payable with Tidal Basin and Vanguard Inspection Services, but in his free time, he’s a hobby-geologist-turned-abstract-painter. 

His geometric designs are created with rocks from around the world, and we’re lucky enough to have one of his newest pieces hanging in our corporate office. After the new painting was installed, James walked us through the name and origin of some of the rocks he included, mentioning that many of these specimens developed millennia ago deep within the Earth. (If you’ve never had the chance to learn about how rocks and minerals are formed, browsing through the Geology page on the National Park Service website could prove to be quite illuminating!)

We asked James to share a bit more about how he started doing his geologic, geometric paintings, as well as some photos of his newly commissioned piece. Here’s what he had to say:

“As a child, I was always intrigued with chemistry and rocks. From an early age, I played in the creek and collected rocks to bring home. I would practice memorizing the entire periodic table because I was amazed by how many different elements existed in this wonderful world and I wanted to know the names of all of them. As time went on, I started studying chemistry in college, further enhancing my understanding of this fascinating subject. I ended up working in a hospital as a pharmacy technician where I learned how to compound different medications. I would crush tablets into powder and mix them with different elixirs and medications.

“One day, I decided to buy a paint set, but it only came with limited colors of acrylic paint. As I was sitting at my desk trying to paint, I couldn’t find the right color to use until I glanced at a rock next to me. An explosive idea came to mind: what if I create my own colors by compounding rocks like I used to compound medications? So, that’s what I did – and, wow, the outcome was perfect! Eventually, I moved into a new place that had a big, empty wall. I wanted a painting to fill up the blank space that stared back at me. I went online to look for paintings and searched and searched with no luck. Since I had just recently moved, I had boxes everywhere, and that’s when I noticed a box of rocks nearby. The memory of compounding rocks to make my own paint came back to me, and I decided to make my own painting composed entirely of rocks. From there, my paintings and painting style was born.

“I crushed rocks into dust and started compounding them with clear acrylic paint until the mixture reached the right viscosity. I would then spread the rocky paint on the canvas and create different geometric shapes. I loved how everything intertwined. However, when my mother saw my work, she wasn’t as impressed and suggested I add fragments to my paintings. That way, it would actually look like rocks coming out of the canvas and not just some paint. What a great idea that was because I followed her advice for my next project, and I was speechless about how good it looked. My love for painting started to grow more and more with each new piece. I began experimenting with different rock types to produce eye-catching results and I was not disappointed. I hope you have a chance to see all my paintings. To me they are truly wonderful pieces of natural art.”

James shares his current projects on Instagram at @udov2007. Be sure to follow along for work-in-progress shots and send him a message if you’d like your very own custom piece! Below are some photos of the painting he created for our Utica office space, along with a guide to every rock – nearly 100 different types – included in it.

Fine-Grained Sandstone

Utah

1, 49

Charnockite

South Carolina

2, 22, 42, 110, 156

Bituminous Coal

New York

3, 58, 72

Conglomerate

New York

4, 8, 141, 182, 185

Schist

North Carolina

5, 48, 53, 59, 105, 190

Chrysoprase

Australia

6, 124

Pyrite

Peru

7, 191

Diabase

New York

9, 21, 51, 68, 160

Feldspar with Smoky Quartz

North Carolina

10, 90, 100

Garnet Peridotite

Norway

11, 41, 180

White Onyx Gravel

Mexico

12, 25, 38, 66, 174, 186

Black Mica Schist

North Carolina

13

Druzy Quartz Geode

Morocco

14

Labradorite

Madagascar

15

Red Jasper

India

16, 60, 76, 98

Chalcopyrite Peacock Ore

Mexico

17

Septarian Jasper

Madagascar

18

Milky Quartz

South Carolina

19

Copper-Stained Tuff

California

20

Dark Purple Sandstone

New York

23, 55, 143, 188

Gabbro

New York

24

Flint

South Carolina

26

Lapis Lazuli

Afghanistan

27, 137, 187

Tourmaline

China

28, 168

Unakite

South Africa

29, 40, 108

Gold Tiger Eye

South Africa

30, 35, 136

Black Quartzite

New York

31, 47, 86, 109, 138, 151

Amazonite

Madagascar

33, 67, 163

Granodiorite

California

34

Rhyolite

New York

36, 115

Fuchsite

Brazil

37

Moonstone

India

39, 162

Trondhjemite

South Carolina

43

Syenite

North Carolina

44

Emerald

Colombia

45, 113

Charnockite

New York

46

Granite

New York

50

Orange Sandstone

South Carolina

52

Green Opal

Brazil

54, 121

Phyllite

California

56, 117, 165

Sodalite

Brazil

57, 104, 131

Smoky Quartz

North Carolina

61

Ruby Sapphire

Madagascar

63

Solar Druzy Agate

India

64

Muscovite Mica

North Carolina

65, 178

Specularite Hematite

New York

69, 73, 99, 166, 177, 181

Amethyst

Brazil

70

Orange Calcite

Madagascar

71, 79, 87, 93

Carbonatite

South Carolina

74, 81, 84, 142

Oolitic Sand (Stansbury Island)

Utah

75, 171

Pink Tuff Breccia

California

77, 154

Red Shale

South Carolina

80, 95, 193

Blue Apatite

Brazil

85, 147

Basalt

New York

82, 107

Galena

Morocco

83, 97

Mahogany Obsidian

Nevada

88

Herkimer Diamond / Dolomite

New York

89

Gabbro

South Carolina

91

Green Calcite

North Carolina

92, 140, 176

Crocodile Jasper

Madagascar

96, 118

Quartzite

New York

101, 123, 150, 175, 192

Turquoise

Arizona

102

Black Kyanite

Brazil

103

Selenite

Morocco

106

Petoskey Stone (Fossilized Coral)

South Carolina

111

Lepidolite Mica

Brazil

112

Citrine Clusters

Brazil

114, 128

Blue Aragonite

Madagascar

116, 159, 189

Aventurine

India

119

Quartz

North Carolina

120

Auralite

Canada

125

Chrysocolla & Turquoise

Arizona

126

Lithophysal Obsidian

California

127

Chocolate Brown Sand (Franciscan Complex)

California

129, 144

Serpentine

Russia

130

Garnet

New York

132

Purple Flint

South Carolina

133

Blue Flint

South Carolina

134

Smoky Quartz / Dolomite

New York

135

Red Tiger Eye

South Africa

139

Chalk

United Kingdom

145

Siltstone

South Carolina

148

Chert

New York

149

Rose Quartz

Brazil

152

Red Hardened Clay

New York

153, 172, 194

Petrified Wood

Arizona

155

Yellow Ochre

California

155

Gold

Alaska / Colorado

157

Moss Agate

South Carolina

158

Amphibolite

New York

161

Mudstone

Colorado

164

Granodiorite

New York

167

Trilobite (Eldredgeops rana) / Diabase

New York

170

Thulite

Norway

173

Druzy Quartz

South Carolina

179

Sulfur

California

183

Dendraster gibbsii Fossil

California

184

Sullivan's Island Beach Sand

South Carolina

184