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GRA N T S T R AW CU TTER E X H I B I T I O NDecember 28th-30th, 2007                           I have just                ...
My first introduction to international travel      My next job was with another design firm    was from Mary Stephens, my ...
We attracted large clients like Burger King       living there. It was an invaluable experience    and ChuckeCheese and fi...
I see many parallels in all the career moves I    have made as they relate to sculpting in 3-D.    Architecture is a type ...
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Lumberton Exhibition Bio


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Biography as of 2007

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Lumberton Exhibition Bio

  1. 1. GRA N T S T R AW CU TTER E X H I B I T I O NDecember 28th-30th, 2007 I have just returned from an intense two week workshop in Pietrasanta, Italy. Pietrasanta has been the center for sculpture for hundreds of years. I am returning to my roots in ... Lumberton, North Carolina By Grant Strawcutter My name is Grant Strawcutter. I am the third son of four children from Howard and Dorothy Strawcutter of Lumberton. Although I was actually born in Winston Salem in December of 1955, we moved to Lumberton when I was only 6 months old. I am a true Lumbertonian! From Ms. Ellen’s first grade class at First Presbyterian Church through Tanglewood Elementary and onto Junior High School in South Lumberton, I did not really start enjoying school until the 9th grade at Lumberton High School (LHS). I am like a good wine; I seem to be a slow starter but somehow always finished well. I had many terrific teachers during my public education in Lumberton. Did you know that teachers actually fight over artistic students because they want the best bulletin boards? I think that Aileen Gane, not only understood my ADD she wanted my budding artistic talents as well. I know now that I actually learned more doing the boards while she was lecturing. I was easily distracted and could not sit still to save me. 1
  2. 2. My first introduction to international travel My next job was with another design firm was from Mary Stephens, my French teacher which offered more interesting design at LHS. As many of you know she also took opportunities. We created the “Twelve Days hundreds (maybe thousands) of students and of Christmas” exhibit for Fanieul Hall in adults abroad during the summers. In 1973 Boston in the early 1980’s. It was on the when I went we covered 12 countries in 5 upper floor of the main rotunda for thousands weeks. I was hooked and began making to file through during the holidays. We also mental notes on where I wanted to return in designed all the exhibits for the dairy years to come. Most of them I have been industry museum in Fort Atkinson, back to, and some more than once. Wisconsin. Last but not least, the After being promoted to Design Director in late Betty 1982 my boss had the idea he wanted to enter McKeithan the “play industry”. He sent me to to whom I am Langhorne, PA to see and observe the newest dedicating play sensation known as Sesame Place, based this show, on the popular TV show. I was challenged to was my LHS duplicate as many play experiences and art teacher. components into one freestanding structure She did more with a market set for the fast food industry. to encourage We grew quickly installing equipment for and inspire chains like Peter Piper Pizza. Excitingly, me in the arts during this same period we also completed than anyone projects for many of the major amusement else. Even parks such as all the Six Flags Parks, Astro after World, Marineland just to name a few. This graduation, new concept had become all the rage in the she encouraged me to apply to the University amusement industry. of North Carolina in Charlotte because they had started a terrific college of art there. I Having headed up these large jobs allowed applied and was accepted but after some me the responsibility and the opportunity to paternal discussion and arm-twisting I also feel what it would truly be like to work for applied to the college of architecture, as well. myself. I felt the call and I decided, if accepted, I would attend. resigned in the spring of 1984 Needless to say I graduated with a four year and with the help of two bachelor of arts degree in architecture. I had partners, Neal Crites and to put my art on hold! Donald Morrow, started SoftPlay Inc (SPI). My first After graduating in 1978 I was already challenge was to design a working for an architectural firm specializing better product than I had in small town revitalization projects. After already designed. It worked three years, I began looking for a new job because Soft Play took off with more design diversity. I still enjoy like gangbusters and within a architecture and dabble often but my journey year we were out of debt. was just beginning. To be honest there is Our company’s vision was to design the hardly a minute when my mind is not safest play systems in the industry. critiquing, designing or trying to improve life, as we know it.2
  3. 3. We attracted large clients like Burger King living there. It was an invaluable experience and ChuckeCheese and finally caught the but very expensive and since I was working attention of McDonalds. We had decided to return to the US in 2000. I settled experienced almost 5 years of accelerated in South Florida’s Fort Lauderdale area growth with little competition. Then in where I now have my studio. I continue to draw, sculpt and learn as much as I can. The 1991, my partner Neal best advice I received was “if I wanted to Crites and I were sculpt, the best way to learn was to just do awarded Entrepreneur it!”. I will never stop learning. I believe that Of The Year Award in life is a journey and not a destination. manufacturing hosted Everything happens for a reason and that by Ernst & Young, today our lives are a compilation of all the Merrill Lynch and INC experiences from our past. The only thing Magazine. By 1995 we do take on to our next life is our wisdom SPI had reached its maximum size of 325 from this one. employees and annual sales of almost $36,000,000 and had entertained millions of At this stage in my life I have found some children, and adults the world over. comfort in day-to-day financial matters to be able to pursue my dream full time. In my studio I sculpt what challenges me most but as an entrepreneur, the true definition of success means not only doing what one enjoys but also making a living at it. It is time for me begin to market myself. My work continues to be inspired by the great masters: Michelangelo and Bernini, but also contemporary living artist like Richard MacDonald, Peter Robino, Paul Although we were based in Charlotte NC, we Lucchesi Tony Ryder operated offices in Asia and Europe as well and Eugene Daub. All as directed a global network of installation accomplished artists specialists. Finally in 1996 after ten years as who share their a leader in playground safety and design, we knowledge and sold SPI to a large conglomerate known as techniques with others Play Power Inc based in St. Louis Missouri. and of which I have My partner and I were to stay for two years had the opportunity to but were able to leave after one to pursue meet and learn from. I other interests. SoftPlay continues to operate not only take part in today. other workshops, I also offer weekly workshops in my studio as part of my Finally, I was going to be able to pursue my continuing education. I have recently dream to be an artist. Where could I go to be returned from an intense two-week workshop surrounded by some of the greatest art in the in Pietrasanta, Italy lead by artist Nilda world? In 1998, after some R&R, I packed Comas. Near Carrara, Pietrasanta has been all my belongings in storage and left for the heart of sculpture for hundreds of years. Europe. I found a furnished apartment and settled in near London. I was so inspired I continued to draw and began to sculpt while3
  4. 4. I see many parallels in all the career moves I have made as they relate to sculpting in 3-D. Architecture is a type of sculpting through the configuration of spaces into a total we call a building. Working with children designing safe playgrounds was similar in the articulation of “play events” as spaces organized into modular play systems. In This is my first public showing and I look forward to getting feedback from many of my friends and family. The Friends of the Robeson County Public Library will be hosting me on the weekend between Christmas and New Years, December 28-30. There will be a catered opening night reception to meet me and see my work on display in the Osterneck Auditorium/Lobby. many ways I still feel that I am in the infancy of my latest endeavor. Much of what I do involves the human figure and portraiture in clay. In addition, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being able to drawing as necessary to be developed in parallel with sculpting. Also on Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 2pm-5pm, I will also be available in the Many things inspire my work: the model, the gallery. pose, the energy and the emotion (or any combination of these). Any portrait or bust of someone must capture a persons energy For more information, go online to: as well as the likeness of the individual. I see my figurative sculpture as an appreciation of the beauty of the human body as well as the triumph of human spirit. or email me at: Photography is another one of my passions. Photographs can capture a memory in an instant. Most times there is only a fraction of a second to visualize, compose and capture a live subject.4