Paul Schaap

Sadly, Carol is no longer with us. I know she would be so proud.

Today was truly a great day. I’ve been looking forward to sharing this portrait with the world for quite sometime. My portrait of Carol and Paul Schaap was unveiled at Wayne State in the Paul and Carol Schaap Chemistry Building, where it will hang into perpetuity. It was well received by a packed audience of special guests, including the president of the University.

Paul Schaap

Paul Schaap isolated the molecule that makes Fireflies light up, used in countless medical and genetic testing worldwide.


The portrait expresses their beautiful love story and it was my great honor to be chosen for the job. The good this man is doing in the community cannot be overstated. He and his team isolated the molecule that causes Fireflies to light up. How cool is that?! I am one of hundred billion kids who ever dreamed of harnessing the light of a firefly. The formula is used in medical tests and DNA testing. So many uses in fact, every day, they send out a semi-truck of the liquid all over the world. In addition to the Schaap chemistry building and endowments, he is building a state of the art theatre and exhibition space on Jefferson and Alter, called the Schaap Center. Another little known fact, he single-handedly saved the DIA from having to sell off much of their collection a few years back. The man is my hero and I am just so humbled to have played even a small part in he and Carol’s enormous legacy. My beautiful wife Cate and I are so inspired by the love of Paul and Carol, who were just shy of their 50th anniversary.

Click image to see the unveiling.

This painting is all about light and love. And if you really think about it, at its core, my work as a portrait artist is ALSO all about love, which is the driving force that motivates every process in the universe, from the creation of stars and galaxies to the spark that ignites a desire to build something beautiful TOGETHER. It certainly was the driving force behind Professor Schaap’s amazing luminescence process that has helped so many. Can you see the illumination, coming through the building, falling on the lovebirds, cheered on by the light of a few fireflies, subtly reminding us of what these two individuals brought into being. Paul and Carol’s faces are literally exuding light. Paul and Carol are luminescent. Here, they are Immortal. In love forever. They brought light and love together and realized the dreams of those hundred billion children, longing not just for light but for the meaning of light and love. That is quite a legacy. Well done!


Here’s the moment of the Unveiling, captured on film:

Schaap unveiling

Thanks David Coleman for thinking of me for this opportunity.

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