Firefighter’s Charcoal Sets Art World on Fire

Firefighter’s Charcoal Sets Art World on Fire

Georgetown gallery hosts monthlong show of Andrew Devlin’s art.

From paint to watercolor to charcoal, the home of Andrew and Mary Devlin is decorated from floor to ceiling with this budding artist's artwork. Inspired by comic books at a young age, Andrew Devlin, 27, began his career in art sketching cartoon characters. However, it wasn't until he attended Woodson High school in Fairfax that his interest in art sparked, and he began to take his very first art classes. He later went on to major in visual art at Old Dominion University and in the spring of 2002 earned an master's of fine arts from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia.

"The most satisfying thing about my artwork is the process of creating it and critiquing it," said Devlin. "I get a lot of enjoyment from drawing. I have spent most of my life creating artwork and don't plan to stop any time soon."

Having lived in the Fairfax area his entire life, Devlin was first introduced to his part-time career in firefighting during his summer vacations. He now works on the B shift at station 29 in Tysons Corner and is very passionate about his job.

"Firefighting has been a great job because it has allowed me the time I need to also pursue my interest in art," he said. "I am able to draw during my time off from shifts."

Devlin's career in art has taken a new course as he continues to become more recognized in the community for his double talent in art and firefighting.

"For the past few years I have been creating drawings mainly with charcoal," said Devlin. "However, my interests have changed greatly from what they previously were when I first began."

Last year, Devlin won the 2004 Georgetown International Art Competition. The show was juried by Kristen Hileman, the assistant curator for Contemporary Art at The Hirshorn Museum. More than 1,000 entries were submitted and Devlin came out on top.

This most recent accomplishment has led to Devlin having his own one-man art show through July 13, at The Fraser Gallery in Georgetown. "This is my first real contemporary art show, and it marks a huge milestone in my career," said Devlin. "While receiving my MFA in 2002 and being able to attend my first group art show were equally exciting and rewarding, being able to present my work at the Fraser Gallery is such a terrific achievement," Devlin said. "It is very hard for artists today to find available venues to show their work, discuss it with people and just get it out there and I am extremely grateful for this excellent opportunity.

Gallery owner Catriona Fraser is enthusiastic about Devlin's work and achievement. “It is often times hard for emerging artists to manage everything that comes along with having an art career, but Andrew is totally on the ball,” said Fraser, director of the Fraser Gallery in Georgetown and Bethesda. “He is lucky to have a wife who helps him publicize his artwork, giving him more time to focus on what’s most important: creating.”

Devlin's work is open for all to see through July 13. For more information on the show and his artwork, visit