"I have to make art. It’s just something inside of me," Romang said. "I am just happy to have big walls."
Although Romang’s three-bedroom apartment on Ninth Street in Paducah features wood floors and massive columns, it isn’t those uncommon features that draw visitors’ eyes. Romang’s uncanny design style tends to get most of the attention.
"I go for a modern feel with everything I put in my apartment," Romang said. "My fiancee and I are both very creative people, and we like to show that in our space."
After college, Romang was searching for a new apartment to be closer to his job teaching art at Metropolis Elementary School. For the past five years, he has spent his free time creating in one of the apartment’s bedrooms, which he turned into a studio. After his fiancee moved into the space, she took over the third bedroom to accommodate her passion for weaving.
"You come over to this town and you see all of this life," Romang said. "The art here, the people, just the entire area is a creative hub. It is hard to move here and not be inspired."
Romang likes to decorate — with both his art and the art that has inspired him. Along with pieces made by friends, his collection also includes a print of "Star Trek" actor Leonard Nimoy wearing a wig created by Shepard Fairey, the street artist responsible for the Obama "Hope" posters. His windows are adorned with classroom maps instead of roller shades. Upon further inspection, what looks like a common lamp is really a camera tripod wired for electricity.
"I like to know where something has come from," Romang said. "I like to know its story. There is not one thing in this apartment that doesn’t have a story."
Although Romang specializes in print making, his recent foray into ink and resin pieces dominates his living space, including custom wall boxes fixed with backlights. His pieces don’t last long, as friends and clients tend to buy them right off his wall.
"People come over, or my customers come over, and they will love something I have done and buy it," he said. "But I don’t mind that. Taking things off of my walls gives me more wall space to work with, more of a reason to create."