One of Evan Tyler Stallone's earliest canvases was the bottom of his family's kitchen table.
Inspired by the story of Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the boy would lie on his back to draw on the table.
Now 23, Stallone has a real ceiling to work on.
He'll break out his brushes at 5 p.m. Friday, May 7, at the Painted Desert Gallery, 227 N. Duke St.
"I will be painting a heavenly scene of martyrs, saints, gods, goddesses, confessors, sinners and Italian architecture in the middle of a desert landscape," the artist/writer said. He'll work nights and weekends to fill the 12½-by-8½-foot space by May 21.
The project starts on First Friday and coincides with Stallone's first solo exhibition - 35 original paintings, a poem collection and a short story he's penned about neoclassical painter Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.
The exhibition's title, "Romancing the Past," reflects Stallone's great passion:
He's thrilled by the tradition and landscapes of Europe, as well as photographs and mementos documenting his own family.
"To me," he said, "even the smallest glimpse of culture or history tells a story of ancestry and belonging."
Background: Stallone lives in his native Reading. He earned a 2009 Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design and studied last year at the Chautauqua School of Art in New York.
Coming up next: I plan on attending the New York Studio School's Master of Fine Arts painting and drawing program in the fall.
Any sales proceeds from my work (he'll also exhibit June 4-25 at the Red Raven Art Company, 138 N. Prince St. ) will go toward securing my position in the program and living in Manhattan.
When I was growing up I wanted to be: An artist. Apparently, I have been drawing and painting ever since I was 2 years old. My mother quickly noticed my interest and has always gone out of her way to take my family and me to museums, historic sites and galleries around the country.
My day job: Visual displays expert with Gap Inc.
Family: Mother, Cynthia Coulston-Stallone; brother, Jarrad Stallone; sister, Lauren Stallone; grandfather, Teddy Coulston; grandmother, Regina Coulston.
Pets: I have two cats, Loki and Solomon, as well as one turtle named Raphael and a bunch of fish.
One thing my mother always told me: Do what you love.
What I paint and write about: I find I use the figure to symbolize the difficulty of current events. ... They bring an obvious sign of tension and inquiry to my work, which is only balanced by the beauty of a foreign landscape or object.
I research my work: By studying art history and foreign architecture, objects and locations. By working in this manner, I can physically insert myself into a history or a way of life that is incredibly separate from my own.
A cause I support: More federal funding for education for children and adults so that schooling would be affordable to all. Also, I believe in city revitalization organizations so we may form better thriving and protected communities around the nation.
My unfulfilled ambitions: I would love to live and work in Europe and see where my grandparents grew up. I also would like to be a professor in the arts and become an established writer.
Music: I play the guitar and I sing. I'm in a band with one of my friends ... indie rock. ... It's for the most part inspired by Spanish guitar.
Three words to describe me: Progressive, dedicated and sincere.
People may be surprised to know: I am related to Sylvester Stallone.
Favorite food: Roman-style fettuccine with chicken.
My idea of exercise: Running and rowing.
The car I drive: A tiny black Kia.
Lancaster County's greatest asset: First Fridays.
My pet peeve: Bill collectors.
For a great vacation try: Rome, Italy, especially since Rome turned 2,763 years old April 21, 2010.
A good movie I've seen recently: "The Invention of Lying."
Jon Rutter is a staff writer for the Sunday News. His e-mail address is email@example.com.