I started going gray at 24, during my last semester of college. I’d had random strands in my hair as early as 12, but the temples turned solid white then. It sure is nice, before you go out into the real world, to suddenly have a reminder of your mortality staring at you in the mirror every day.

I’ve always been naturally anxious, and blamed it on that (on top stress at school and being in a bad relationship), but in reality I’m sure it’s genetic. My dad’s been rocking the salt-and-pepper look for as long as I can remember, and we didn’t even know my mother’s real hair color for close to twenty years. Call it an Irish thing. Yes, the guy named “Seamus Patrick” is Irish. I go by “S.P.” professionally because nobody gets my name right on the first try and it just saves time. My father is also the sixth of nine children, works as a plumber in Chicago, his older brother is a cop, and his younger brother is a fire-fighter. We’re the most stereotypical Irish-American family ever.

It’s not our fault. They all copied us.

I decided on my title as “The Gray Man” after my first year in Portland. I was poor, enduring terrible living conditions, and had to endure endless rain as my prospects looked dimmer and dimmer. I had a rather “gray” outlook, if you will. I’ve always loved black and white media, be it comics, film, or television, and decided to make it my thing.

Things have improved since then. I now live in East Portland, have a Tumblr-obsessed girlfriend, and spend my time producing my own comics and freelancing wherever I can. My clients have included Portlandia Granola Company, Happy Puppy Park, Inqune, Creative Partners Curriculum, Devi Ever FX, NW Democracy Resources, Independent Publishing Resource Center, Regional Arts & Culture Council, People’s Art of Portland, and more. I produce plenty of color art, but I’m gray, and a man. So I’m the Gray Man.

Sometimes the world presents you with your thing. Embrace it and make it your strength.