ART EDUCATION: Masters of fine arts from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.
STYLE: Trompe l’oeil.
MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT THE WAY YOU WORK: I work a lot from photographs, but I also use the photo as a prop in the painting. I present the photo instead of denying I am working from it.
SECOND-CHOICE CAREER: I never gave anything else a thought. I wanted to be an artist ever since I was 2 years old.
BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: When someone tells me not to do something, I find every way to do it. A professor told me, “Don’t be a muralist.” And that’s what I do now. I am the lead muralist for the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.
CREATIVE SPARK: The city. I work in all these eclectic neighborhoods where some of the people I meet turn out to be the subjects of my paintings.
PRICE RANGE: $100 to $5,000.
GALLERIES: Artists’ House Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; www.jonathanlaidacker.
Featured in our annual “21 Under 31″ article in September 2009