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When Right Brain Meets Left

May 17, 2022

Engineers are not always known for their creativity, but that's not the case here at RaganSmith.

From an early age Micky Dobson’s creative side was apparent. Whether it was nature or nurture, he grew up drawing and painting. His grandmother, who owned an art studio, played a big role in his love of art as he was growing up. Upon receiving a baseball scholarship to UT Martin, he decided to major in Graphic Design to capitalize on his creativity. Once he realized that Graphic Design may not be the most lucrative career path, he switched to Civil Engineering.

Working as a Civil Engineer since 2008 in the Nashville region and now in our Commercial Department, he acknowledges that he generally uses more of his left brain in his day-to-day work. Except for tasks such as hand grading, when he gets to look at site layouts and visualize the contours, Civil Engineering requires him to focus more on analytical and detail oriented responsibilities. Having a hobby like painting allows him to use his right brain and scratch that “creative itch” after hours.

The original Nashville skyline piece is a 72x48 inch acrylic and was completed in 2018, consisting of around 500 hours of work and taking about a year and half. When he began the painting, he initially had the idea of doing a more abstract skyline. As he continued it the engineering side of his brain took over, adding in more straight lines, angles, and details, giving it a distinctive look Micky calls a “Photo Realistic Style”. This style is a nod to both his right and left brains, which makes it unique in that most artists aren’t going to have the benefit of having both a creative and technical side.

Micky compared the painting to a long-range engineer project. “You have to persevere through [the project], even when it gets difficult. During a long job, you always start out in the “honeymoon stage” where everyone is happy and excited and getting along. By midpoint in the job, the newness has worn off and you grind through it. By the end of the job sometimes people are tired and just ready to move on to the next project. It takes a lot of mental fortitude to get through a long engineering job. This painting took a similar path. I was happy when I started. By the mid-point, it was feeling like a lot of work. By the end I just wanted to finish it and move on.”

Micky wants to be the best at whatever he does. He would love to do more skylines or various other artistic projects and eventually and gain a following, but he knows that takes time. Micky takes on that same competitive mentality in regards to his work with RaganSmith.