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HCC student dedicated to his art

October 05, 2007|By ELLY POPPER / Herald-Mail intern

A tattoo design, a wall-size mural and a side panel on a truck make up Sam Grantham's résumé.

Grantham, a 20-year-old student at Hagerstown Community College, calls it his "living résumé." His artwork also can be found in a local coffee shop.

Grantham's interest in art started in elementary school, when one of his drawings was chosen for the month of October in the school calendar. Grantham concentrated on drawing for several years.

"I was always trying to paint with ink, and my ink dove into the grounds of urban surrealism with high emphasis on the human face," Grantham said.

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He said he has found his muse in painting. This past summer, his laptop computer was lost, so he seized the opportunity to live distraction-free and began to paint.

"Urban abstract impressionistic realism" is the title Grantham has given to the new style he has been enthralled with the past few months.

"I don't like anything to just be background, I like it to have some kind of purpose," Grantham said. "I get so into a color and put it everywhere and then end up taking a lot of it out."

The colorful paintings sometimes are dark and sometimes bright with many figures hidden in the design.

Grantham said his artistic influences are his parents, music such as Tom Waits and Afrobeat, and the elderly.

The older generation is an important component to his art because "they don't have time to censor or polish their speech," Grantham said.

Grantham's father, Croft Grantham, an industrial safety representative, signed him up for an adult art class at Howard's Art Supply Store when he was in sixth grade. Sam Grantham said his stepmother, Maja Grantham, enjoys art as an important part of life, but encourages him to pursue a stable career.

"She's worried about me," he said. "She has to pay my bills."

Nothing is off limits as material for Grantham's art, and money isn't the only thing that changes hands if he sells his work.

"I'm not so picky, so I do it on anything I can find with anything I have," Grantham said. A painting he did on a truck's side panel was in exchange for materials to finish his first painting.

Since it's abstract art, Grantham said some people do not always see what he puts into it.

"Some people get it, and when they get it, it's all at the same time," Grantham said. "I don't like things to be immediate. I'm very mindful; I explain it differently to people. If I think it's a lost cause, I don't, not because of intelligence, but because they don't think like that. They have too much rationality."

Grantham is taking a sculpture class at HCC this semester.

"Sculpting will allow me to explore a physical side of art, and it's something new to paint on," Grantham said.

Grantham graduated from South Hagerstown High School, and has attended Randolph-Macon Military Academy, Williamsport High School and John Handley High School. He lives in Williamsport and works at Martin's Deli in Hagerstown. Grantham plans to finish at HCC in the spring of 2008 and transfer to Maryland Institute College of Art or Virginia Commonwealth University.

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