Having served in the military for over 15 years, and now as a police officer, 33-year-old Bryan Lutz finds joy in serving others. But there’s another joy that he’s passionate about: painting and drawing.
“I get to see a lot of good, but I also have days that I want to forget. I’m often surrounded by death, violence, hate, and sadness,” Lutz said, who is a police officer for Salt Lake City. “That is one reason why art is so important to me, because it’s a way to block out the events of the day.”
Lutz’s love of art started when he was very young.
“I’ve been drawing since I was a little kid,” he said. “With crayons I drew airplanes, like little boys do. I like to create, so it has been an ongoing hobby since my childhood.”
After graduating from high school, Lutz began attending the Art Institute in Draper when he was deployed to Iraq for 545 days starting in 2005.
He was single and the deployment seemed to go quickly, he said.
His next deployment, three years later, was to Afghanistan. Now married, he had to leave his pregnant wife home.
Lutz returned to the states during his deployment for two weeks to see his baby girl born, and then returned to Afghanistan to finish his nine-month tour.
While in Afghanistan, he told his wife, Becky, over the phone, that he was thinking of pursuing a job as a police officer after he returned.
“I told Bryan no, you’re not going to do that,” Becky Lutz said. “You’re going to come home and be a designer and be safe in a cubicle.”
Lutz struggled with the idea of designing someone else’s buildings. He had enjoyed serving people in Iraq and Afghanistan, and couldn’t picture himself trapped behind a desk.
Although he missed his family, Lutz enjoyed his service in a foreign land.
“Even though I couldn’t speak their language, I liked helping them,” he said.
The idea of continuing his service at home crossed his mind.
“I wanted to pick up more service locally,” Lutz said. “I’d already done it overseas and I loved people in law enforcement. Truthfully, I don’t think there’s a more rewarding career.”
After thinking about it for a few days, Becky Lutz talked again with her husband and decided that becoming a police officer was what he was meant to do.
Lutz returned home, but never finished his schooling at the art institute. But he did enroll at the Salt Lake Community College Police Academy and graduated in 2012.
While serving as a police officer, Lutz has seen hard days. On many occasions he unwinds by drawing or painting in his home.
“I love to paint, but I’ve always been able to draw,” Lutz said. “I’ve always had a sketch book somewhere.”
Lutz plans to draw all the temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Currently, there are 166 around the world. He doesn’t have an order, but does look at a list and decides which one to draw and add his own artistic view.
“The temple drawings started by just doodling at church,” he said.
He has discovered that a lot of the temples are similar and enjoys finding fun facts about each temple he is drawing.
Lutz realizes he won’t be able to go visit every temple, but this is a way he can see them.
Each sketch is about the size of an index card and Lutz plans on drawing about four a week. They can take anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours to complete.
Another one of Lutz’s artworks is an oil painting of a picture his wife took of their oldest daughter, Brielle, when she was eight years old. Bryan recently finished the painting.
“I’m super critical of drawing people that I love because I want them to like it,” Lutz said.
He knew Brielle loved the oil painting, because as soon as she ran into the room and saw it, she began to cry.
Lutz plans on painting his other two children when they turn eight.
This spring, Lutz wants to get out and paint scenery from around Tooele County. Growing up in Kearns, Lutz didn’t have the open atmosphere like the small-town uniqueness he has found in Stansbury Park.
“I didn’t get to see cows on the side of the road, the horses and sheep,” Lutz said “It’s a special thing we still have here.”
Recently, Lutz’s neighborhood held a neighborhood clean-up day. A big dumpster was provided and neighbors were de-junking their homes. Lutz and his wife noticed that the dumpster was starting to over fill. They decided to go arrange the junk in the dumpster so other neighbors could add to the pile.
A black frame caught Lutz’s eye. He decided to take the standard picture in the frame and create an oil painting over the top. His wife carried the painting home.
Lutz painted the Salt Lake Temple and filmed a time-lapse movie, which he posted on his Instagram page. The painting now hangs in their hallway as you enter their home.
“I’m really thankful someone threw it away,” Lutz said.
Another piece of artwork Lutz created was painting over the top of a mirror. He also painted a three-canvas painting for his brother-in-law.
“I like to draw and paint for other people, mainly because it pushes me a little bit,” Lutz said. “I think if I can make other people happy, then that’s awesome.”
Follow Lutz on Instagram bryan_original.