From Polish ancestry, artist Cherie Dacko has family roots in Chicago, but was raised in Tampa. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Fine Art. Following college, Cherie joined the El Sama artist co-op in Ybor City, Florida. She continued to paint and exhibit, but it was her "paycheck" job that allowed Cherie to perfect her technique. With 25 plus years in portrait, commercial and antique photo restoration, the artist developed award-winning skills for creating images of the human form. In 2007, after raising her son, she rented studio space in the historic district of Sanford, Florida and began painting full time. After 3 years and about 200 paintings later, Dacko's style evolved into a unique style of portraiture she describes as "Bent Realism." The subjects are familiar but the distortion will challenge your comfort level. A consummate people-watcher, Cherie is most content studying unusual people with expressive bodies and a quirky fashion sense, but her subjects are not of this world. "My work eliminates the boundaries of culture and eras, celebrates the imperfect and challenges the viewer to bend their concept of normal behavior and physical beauty. Having worked for years as a photographic retoucher, I was under the mistaken impression that one must alter their natural look to be “attractive.” Now I paint in direct opposition to that cultural standard. The human forms in my paintings are somewhere between reality and invention, but each character flaw or mood is universally understood." Having painted in public for 5 years, Dacko now prefers to work out of the public eye. Her distinctive style has garnered a loyal following and her work is in collections throughout the United States , Canada and France, including that of Stephen Colbert, political satirist.