Fifty framed faces, including renderings of 25 famous figures, have been hung for viewing in the Secured Gallery at the Covey Center for the Arts. The pieces make up local artist Casey Childs's exhibition of original artwork entitled "Portraits & Figures" -- a compilation of charcoal drawing and oil painting portraits created by the artist over the past three years.

In 2009, Childs, an emerging artist who grew up in Wyoming and now lives in Pleasant Grove, gave up a graphic design job of 10 years to focus on his real passion: sketching and painting.

"I always wanted to paint full-time," Childs said. "Finally ... I felt like it was time to go out on my own and do my thing."

Childs's "thing" is faces. And since becoming a full-time artist, he's spent his time fine-tuning his craft and focusing on the faces of strangers, famous figures and the people that surround him every day.

"It's what I've gravitated toward," Childs said. "I've always loved drawing people. We all have two eyes, we all have a nose and a mouth, but capturing the differences between each one of us is really fascinating to me."

The "Portraits and Figures" exhibit is divided into two subjects: oil paintings of figures in contemporary settings and charcoal sketches of famous people. The series of sketches, 25 in total, is titled "Influential Figures," and includes renderings of Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens and Mahatma Gandhi, to name a few.

"They're charcoal drawings of historical figures," Childs said, "people that have influenced the way we live our lives today, people that have changed the world with the way that they think, their inventions or their writings."

Deann Morin, gallery coordinator for the Covey Center who helps arrange for and hang the center's exhibitions, commented on Childs's portraits.

"It is always interesting to get the actual work here, ready to hang," Morin said, "and his was stunning. Although painted in different styles, all reveal pieces of the personality and soul of the subject."

And the ability to reveal the subjects he's portraying, their emotion and character, is something Childs aims to convey in each piece.

"I try to capture them, not just their looks," he said. "I try to capture what's inside of them, capture their soul, who they are. It's something that I really strive for in each drawing or painting. I just try to see the person in front of me as accurately as I can."

Childs hopes viewers of "Portraits and Figures" will take away an appreciation for the uniqueness and beauty of others. "I hope they come away with a greater sense of how diverse we all are," Childs said. "If you really stop and look at people, you'll notice the beauty all around us."