Morin Became Painter, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist While Majoring in Economics and Religious Studies

How did a portrait of the University of Georgia's mascot serve as the impetus for a soon-to-be University of Virginia graduate's painting of the Rotunda -- and an idea for a business that will be launched this summer?

Miles Morin, who graduates Sunday from the College of Arts & Sciences, explains.

"I took up painting in my second year," he said. Before then, the double-major in economics and religious studies – who also played bass guitar in a funk band called Soiree his first two years on Grounds – had never even picked up a paintbrush. His initial works were "pretty bad," he confessed. But that didn't dampen his artistic aspirations. 

Practicing on his own, studying artists' works and taking several painting courses starting in the fall of his third year – first with studio art professor Philip Geiger, followed by independent studies with art professor emeritus Richard Crozier – Morin said he "learned a lot." His painting style now focuses on light and strong contrasts, which in his opinion gives paintings "depth and power."

One of Morin's early professional works was a portrait of the Georgia bulldog mascot, which he painted for a friend. It sparked an idea for an online business; Morin thought that other University of Georgia sports fans might want a print of their beloved bulldog, and that line of reasoning led to painting other schools' mascots and landmarks, including U.Va.'s Rotunda. 

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