Darren Guest was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of two. Although Guest is confined to a wheelchair, he has found “freedom” in his artwork.
Darren Guest of DarrenGuestStudios is a visual artist. Native to Baltimore, Maryland, Guest has had an unending passion for art and is no stranger to adversity and overcoming. Having been in a motorized wheelchair since the age of six, with Muscular Dystrophy (MD)—the disease that weakens the muscles that make the human body move—Guest’s spirit is anything but weakened. And in his words, he does not consider himself as having a disability. He simply has a different ability.
Guest began taking art classes at age six and the drive continued through middle school, attending Sudbrook Magnet Middle School, majoring in Visual Art. Like most children, he watched cartoons after school and would sit in front of the television drawing pictures of the characters. Disney characters were his specialty during that time and some of his favorite programs were The Proud Family, The Rugrats, Hey Arnold, and Sponge Bob Square Pants. In 2005, Guest’s childhood dream became a reality as The Make a Wish Foundation granted him his wish of visiting Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, CA. Care and thought was put into his travels, making him comfortable, and fulfilling his dreams as he traveled by limousine, meeting Bruce W. Smith, creator of The Proud Family. The visit only deepened his passion to develop his animation studies.
Guest applied for and was accepted to George Washington Carver Center for the Arts and Technology, a place that is consistently recognized in Newsweek magazine’s annual list of America’s top high schools. He credits the hands-on approach from his instructors, Carroll Cook (photography), Theresa Shovlin (drawing/painting), Joe Giordano (drawing/painting), and Robert Miller (multimedia) for assisting in allowing his true artistic ability began to shine through. During this time, he was introduced to oil and acrylic painting and ink washing techniques; along with drawing and painting live and still objects, using graphite and charcoal. Under the guidance of Robert Miller, these works of art were enhanced by utilization of computer art techniques.
In May 2009, graduating from The Carver Center, Guest was honored during the Senior Awards Ceremony with The Spirit of Carver award. This award is given to students who “exemplify Carver: its uniqueness, its energy, its culture, its spirit, its diversity, its trademark respect, and its tradition of excellence”. Additionally, Guest’s name will be engraved on a plaque and permanently displayed in the trophy case in the main lobby of the school. Always the student, in fall 2009, Guest attended the Maryland Institute College of Art for a semester, but due to lengthy class schedules and his disability, he was unable to continue. Never giving up and always attaining ways to succeed, he has since been taking landscape and portrait classes at Zoll Studios in Timonium, MD, continuing to perfect his skills.
Guest’s portfolio is expansive, rendering numerous commissions as well as his work on illustrations for children’s books.