UNT student's sculpture wins first place in national art show

Monday, July 15, 2013 - 16:00

DENTON, Texas (UNT) – As a semi-pro hockey player, UNT senior Jordan Grimes would sketch in a notebook while on the road. Upon entering the College of Visual Arts and Design, Grimes’s art went from sketches to watercolor paintings, then to 3-D sculptures that fuse watercolor with items from nature and a tribute to Native Americans.

Now, Grimes, a Denton native, is receiving recognition for his life-like sculptures. He recently won first place in the Texas Spirit Art Show in Graham, Texas, and his work will be featured in an exhibition at Bath Cultural Center in Dallas in August.

There were more than 200 entries received for the Old Post Office Museum and Art Center’s Texas Spirit Show, said Executive Director Marlene Edwards. Ninety-one pieces were selected for exhibition and Grimes’s piece, Within the Undergrowth, won first place.

“Jordan’s artwork is so mature for such a young person,” said Edwards. “It’s exceptional artwork, unusual and creative. He has a great future in the world of art.”

For Grimes, the process to his sculpture, which combines watercolor painting and items from nature – wood, moss, insects – with cast images of people, started with his family history.

One of Grimes’s ancestors is Cynthia Ann Parker, who was kidnapped by Native Americans in Parker County, Texas, in the 1800s. She was fully integrated into their culture when she was found by American settlers, who then brought her back and tried to re-integrate her into her old way of life. The story made Grimes think about Native American culture and the way they revere nature.

When Grimes would go out to sketch, he would pick up leaves and insects and incorporate them into his sketches. Eventually he found himself doing that with his paintings, and finally decided to try out his vision with sculptures.

“I’m very influenced by nature,” he said. “My fiancée says my studio looks like a shaman’s tent because I have antlers and insects, pieces of wood and a butterfly collection, all over the place.”

Double majoring in studio art with concentrations in drawing and painting and watercolor, Grimes said he has been challenged by the programs at UNT – and even his fianceé was surprised by the artwork he’s created.

“I kind of fell into it – I was either going to study art or go to law school,” Grimes said, noting that he feels he’s made the right choice and hopes that when he graduates in December he’ll be able to continue to show and sell his artwork for a living.

Creating the sculptures was strange at first for his fiancée, who is the model for most of the pieces of art, because it was odd for her to see her face in the artwork, he said. Now, she helps him promote his work, which, he said, takes a very personal and unique twist each time he makes a new sculpture.

“Using wood or parts of nature, you never know how they will attach to the sculpture,” Grimes said. “I’d had the casting of the piece that won first place and the wood for it in my studio for six months before I figured out how they fit together to make the piece.”


About the Old Post Office Museum and Art Center

The Old Post Office Museum and Art Center is located in a National Historic Building on the downtown square in Graham, Texas. The former post office building was purchased by the city in 1993 and the museum and art center opened its doors in 2002. This is the third year the center has held the Texas Spirit Art Show, a national juried art competition held in conjunction with Graham’s Fourth of July celebration. The judge for the 2013 show was Mark Stewart of Houston, an American realist artist who paints primarily in watercolor.



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