"They always used to tell me that there's too many starving artists out there," Harvey said with a laugh.
But Harvey is far from starving.
The oil painter is making a living for himself as the owner of Metropolis Art studio, located at 155 N. Edison Way in Reno, proving that art does pay the bills.
Harvey, who teaches once a week class sessions for four weeks at a time to all levels including beginning, intermediate and advanced, also caters to children, in attempt to share his passion with others.
"I want to help increase the understanding of what painting is," Harvey said. "It's not just about drawing lines and filling them in perfectly. It's so much more."
Harvey began painting at the age of 7 with guidance from his grandmother who was a china painter and has since seen all sides of art as a profession.
Starting out as a billboard sign painter for an advertising company, Harvey now specializes in interior detail work for residential homes and sign work for private businesses, like his latest piece for Rose's Cafe in Reno.
"I knew I always wanted to get into large scale painting," Harvey said.
And large scale it was as Harvey said he began focusing on full-wall murals, frescos, decorative painting on and inside buildings, plaster work and wooden floor detailing.
Often, Harvey's work involves exposure to dangerous materials as the ventilation of oil paint releases toxins or even climbing high scaffolding while painting.
"It's a dangerous job," Harvey said. "More so than people often think."
Above all, Harvey enjoys painting and drawing the human form, a subject he teaches to his adult classes.
"It's so intracate, it's a marvel, it's a challenge at all times," Harvey said. "And it induces more of a response in the viewer because it's something we all can relate to."
Drawing artistic influences from such Dutch artists as Frans Hals and Johannes Vermeer who were able to break tradition of the their time, Harvey said he encourages his students to keep with it, even if they think their work isn't up to so called standards.
"You don't start out painting like Rembrandt," Harvey said. "After my class though, I just want them to be a little more confident with a paintbrush.
Such an end result as this, Harvey said he's happy to see, hoping that more people can utilize painting as the outlet he sees it as.
"It's a constructive hobby that you can really put your mind and heart into that distracts you from the world," Harvey said. "I was given a gift and this is my way of giving back."
Prices for Harvey's painting classes range between $80 to 135. For more information, visit his Web site at www.metropolisartstudio.com.