top of page

News Articles

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




Within the Undergrowth by Jordan Grimes

Within the Undergrowth by Jordan Grimes




download image

Monday, July 15, 2013 - 11:00am

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.



OPOMAC to host award ceremony for Texas Spirit Art Show

By Gay Storms

Posted:   06/21/2013 12:00:28 PM CDT


Sculptor Jordan Grimes, a student at the University of North Texas, has submitted two sculpture pieces for the show that reflect his love of Native American culture and nature. (By Gay Storms)



Paintings and sculpture from Texas artists have poured into the third annual Texas Spirit National Juried Art Competition and Show at the Old Post Office Museum and Art Center.

But the talent represented is not restricted to Texas, but includes U.S. artists and an artist from Mexico who have qualified for the biggest annual Graham art show.

 This year's entries include more sculpture than in the past, representing both classic and contemporary traditions. The judge is Mark Stewart, who is an architect and a gifted watercolorist.

Although the awards will be announced on June 22, the show will be on display through July 7 during the museum's regular hours Tuesday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


OPOMAC art show a spirited event 

By Gay Storms

Posted:   06/25/2013 12:09:49 PM CDT

Artists, sculptors and art lovers congregated Saturday for the Texas Spirit National Art Competition and Show, the year's biggest art event in Graham.

The reception and awards ceremony at the Old Post Office Museum and Art Center drew the largest crowd and participating artists since the show began in 2011.

A total of 89 artists entered with 214 pieces of art. Sixty of those artists were represented with 91 pieces of juried art.

This year's judge, Mark Stewart of Houston, thanked all who entered the show. Winners included:
Diana De Santis of Whitestone, N.Y., who won the Rotary Club of Graham Best of Show Award; William Schneider of Illinois, who won the Marjorie Kirtley Award of Merit; Jordan Grimes of


Jordan Grimes of Denton won first place or the First National Bank of Graham Award for the sculpture, Within the Undergrowth, at the Texas Spirit National Art Competition and Show. (By Gay Storms)

Denton, who won the First National Bank of Graham Award ... (Read more in the Wednesday, June 26 edition of The Graham Leader.


Art Blog






Check out April's Art Blog

     Featuring "Within the Undergrowth"               By Jordan Grimes


Cross Oaks Elementary School - Art Blog


                         About Art Blog


​Local art teacher, Stacy Sturgell, founded an art blog on her school's website to get the elementary students interestd in tlking about art.  The objective is to expose them to art and to see that there are many different ways of looking at art. Ms. Sturgell hopes thay will realize there are many different ways of seeing the same piece of art and that everyone's thoughts are valid. As an OXIDE GALLERY artist, Ms. Sturgell chose to base her Art Blog topic on a piece of artwork currently featured art OXIDE.


Each month Ms. Sturgell selects a piece of artwork from our show to feature on her website and then she invites the school's students as, well as our entire local community, to log on and discuss the artwork.  It is amazing to see any piece of artwork throuh they eyes of the children, as well as other adults.  It's fun, it's easy, and every message you leave helps engage the children in discussing art!  Go on today and leave your thoughts and comments.  The blog runs all month long so check in often and see what has been written.

Prize winning art student uses family history as inspiration


By on July 19, 2013



Tyler Owens / Senior Staff Writer

Digging for hours at a time in local swamps and wooded areas, UNT studio art senior Jordan Grimes uncovers natural items for his Native American-inspired, award-winning art.

Grimes, a double major and focus in drawing, painting and watercolor, recently placed first in the Texas Spirit Art Show in Graham, Texas – the first art show he ever entered.

Since he won the show in late June he has been recognized by several media outlets and art galleries like the Bath House Cultural Center in Dallas.

Two centuries ago, his great aunt, Cynthia Ann Parker, was captured by Comanche Indians and fully assimilated into their culture. As a tribute to his family’s culture and history, Grimes primarily paints and sculpts Native American tribes.

Grimes began by drawing and painting and eventually decided to add natural elements like flowers and press plants before moving on to the three-dimensional sculptures.

“Eventually these paintings weren’t enough,” Grimes said. “I wished I could see these people for real like this, and it dawned on me that I could just make them.”

He said that he uses natural elements that are associated with Native American culture like feathers, plants, insects, horns and animal bones, which he finds and incorporates into a cast of a human model, like special effects studios use in movies.

He said that it takes the perfect combination of casting and gathered natural elements to bring his pieces together and that there is no timetable for how long it could take to complete a piece.

“I never really know what’s going to happen,” he said. “So sometimes I’ll have a casting that I’ve done, sit in my studio for months or a piece of wood sit in my studio for months because if I don’t have the right piece of wood to go with the casting it won’t work. And you can’t force it, you’ve just got to wait for it to happen naturally.”

Three of his sculptures, one painting and several pieces of Grimes’ handmade jewelry are on display at Oxide Fine Art and Floral Gallery in Denton.

Oxide owner Warren Hooper said that Grimes’ pieces were well received when he entered an open call at the gallery.

“Jordan had heard about it, submitted his artwork, and we were shocked and loved it from the moment it walked in the door,” Hooper said.

Though most of his classmates and critics have praised his work, Grimes said that his professor Susan Cheal, coordinator for the drawing and painting program at UNT, was critical of his work.

Cheal said that Grimes is ambitious and thoughtful and that she feels that it is an important part of an artist’s journey to grow through the critique of others.

Tricia Howell, Grimes’ fiancé and primary model for his casting, said that though he understands the importance of the critiquing process, nothing a professor could have said would have deterred him from making the sculptures.

“He’s very independent,” she said. “I think he’ll listen to what anybody says, but usually he already has in his mind made up what he wants to do. He has a very strong family background and he has a lot of people that support him, and maybe when he does start to doubt himself, that gives him that extra ‘I can do this.’”

Grimes will enter three original pieces to the Bath House Cultural Center’s “This is what I think” art show on August 24. The pieces will be on display from August 24 to September 28.


Photo by James Coreas / Editor in Chief

bottom of page