” This is my first interview and I’m a little nervous but it is an honor to be interviewed.
I feel like this is the first step to becoming noticed here in Jacksonville, Florida and all over the world as well.”
Tell the people who you are and where are you from?
My name is Etienne Grinter, Pronounced as a-t-on. It’s French for Steve. I am a 27 year old artist with two beautiful daughters. Father first, Son next. One guy told me I am very Humble although assertive.
Currently I have graduated with my Web Design Certification, attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Pa for 3 years in (07) studying Graphic Design and Game Art; right after graduating from high school. Also I am certified Art Instructor for Michaels Arts and Crafts store. Always a student of art, that will never change.
I would say I am fascinated by everyday things that I see shapes, colors, people. I drift off into my fantasy world a lot. Always did in school as well, drawing on anything I could get my hands on. I try to recycle old materials a lot, trying to salvage the old to bring it back to life somehow with art. I lost the mother of my first child, my best friend in fact about 6 1/2 years ok now. I had stopped drawing at one point in time. It was a very dark time, still kinda is, but I push through it day by day. Art really keeps me going and so do my daughters. I really just want to make them happy while also being the best that I can be as an artist really.
Growing up in Toledo, Ohio which they call the Glass City or The Mud (Lol), there I graduated at Calvin M. Woodward. I had always thought about going to an official art school although I wanted to graduate with my close friends. It is a fairly small area not far from Michigan. A little history about Toledo is that for college Football it was divided. You were either Michigan Wolverines or you were an Ohio State Buckeye. I was the oddball among my friends and loved the Wolverines. GO BLUE!! The street Stickney use to be the boarder for Michigan although it was pushed back of course. The biggest game in the Big 10 conference in November will be these two going at it on the field.
Can you tell us about your latest project?
My latest projects have been really not creating new art but redefining some of my older pieces on a gallery or more professional level to be presented, also with some new artwork as well. I have been taking my old artwork and sketches and blowing them up to a larger size. I never really use to paint at all. I was more of the sketcher, the guy that drew your name in class for a few dollars for lunch. Nothing really to major, then it started to hit me later on in life as to what I would like to do with my art. I would say that my latest projects have been more meaningful, deep powerful images that were created back in 2010-2014. This is where I had my Artist Block I still kinda do.
These last few projects have been a combination of paint, wood burning, hot glue, memories and feelings I can’t escape. I have the occasional fan art like Dragonball Z, Hunter x hunter etc. things that you would look at and think dang man this is really a deep subject.
What message do you want people to receive from your artwork?
What message do I want people to receive looking at my artwork? Man this question is always a doozy for myself because I know the story behind each and every painting. Be we all see differently no matter how much in common we have, we all see things more to one side or the next. I would say that I want people to receive the message that my artwork speaks to them. You know. I want each and every piece to reach out an touch someone. If that makes sense. As if looking at it each and everyday brings some kind of clarity or relieve. I want my artwork to speak to their soul. I know that these pieces that I am creating now. They bring me joy, clarity, peace, serenity, freedom. Limitless freedom…. I did one piece which was my first wood burning piece. On like a 9×12 piece of wood that I bought from Michaels. It was really a test for myself. To see what would be created. What beauty could I bring to this piece of wood that is now in my hands. A part of life I wanted to breath life back into. I feel as though I want to breath life back into the people. If that makes any sense.
Do you remember your first creative work, the moment you knew that you where an artist?
My first creative work would have been in High school my Junior/Senior year. I had a ton art classes and phys.ed. (Lol) It was a challenge for class in Mrs.Millers class. It took me awhile to do so. I really had to be cleaver and creative as well. I remember back then this piece was about 18×24 and every way you turn it there was a different picture. Just random things, an elephant, a column or clouds. My imagination had been wild, as a adolescent. Also at the same time this other piece that was a pastel chalk painting I did of a waterfall, took me longer to do both at the same time but as an artist I need multiple of projects to work on or it might not get finished (lol). This piece went into an art show at the Toledo Museum and I never saw it until I graduated. It was gone for about 2 years.
Who are your favorite artist and inspirations?
My favorite artist? Hmm… I would say one of the greats M.C. Escher. His artwork kept people’s minds working, thinking while staring at its beauty and trying to figure out what and where everything went. He plays mind games which I love with art as well. It’s like a chess game or checkers looking at his work. Seeing if you know his next move or try and figure out what he was thinking during that time. He really inspired me and is a strong influence on my abstract pieces and some of my graffiti work.
A recent artist whose story is an inspiration to me would be Audrey Kawasaki. She does a ton of pieces that are elegant beautiful, masterful pieces of artwork that when I had seen them up close and personal, well a print of her work. It was like she breathed life back into me again with her pieces. So simplistic, colorful but mute, strong but delicate. Her pieces spoke to me as I want my artwork to do with others. She uses mixed media as well. Oil and pencil on wood. I think she uses something else although I am not sure. What I would give to meet her!
What tools do you use to create?
Tools, tools? I use a bunch of tools, such as the Internet. Love it, inspiration from all different faces and people that aren’t known or seen before. Models that are up and coming. Pinterest is a tool I use sometimes mostly now it is Instagram. Ideas flow a bit when I flip through a few pages or so. Flow other artist, see different creators of comics that are up and coming. It’s exciting to know I am amongst these other influences as well. Building each other up. I use a mechanical pencil about a .5 for myself. Copic markers, ink wells, wood burner, acrylics, just about to attempt oils, hot glue gun, colored pencils, ballpoint pens, highlights. Anything really that I can get my hands on. I really like to use different elements that aren’t said to be art tools but who is to say what is and what isn’t. I remember never really having any of these supplies I have now. All I had was a pencil, a eraser, my CD player, cds and my imagination. I’ve came along way, but I am good with every tool that is placed in hand. From years of practice, trial and error. I always keep my errors.
Where can we see more of your art, what other places has your work been published?
As of seeing my artwork i am still in the process of getting a proper website up and running here soon. Other than at http://egrinter.wix.com/3nigma where my digital artwork is. I haven’t placed to much up. I have a red bubble as well which is http://www.redbubble.com/people/3nigma/portfolio. This is where I thought my cool little character “Inhale” would take off. I have a lot of digital work of him and about over 120 designs for him. Created him from graffiti tag I was doing. I’m an constantly on Instagram posting my artwork. Follow me @ french_e_designs.
The only artwork of mine that has been publish would be here at Section8Magazine. I had done a competition for a flyer in Pittsburgh, Pa which made it to the top 3. Also doing window murals where I use to work at downtown at Brueggers Bagels on Grant st and being recognized at DeVry University school I had attended at the time for web design.
What do you see yourself doing in 20 years?
Where do I see myself in 20 years? Man that’s a far ways away, 47 huh. If things worked out how I really wanted them too. In those year I would be known around the Florida region and up north in New York, out in California, Chicago and Seattle of course. Taking trips to make a place beautiful, my own workshop where my kids come and create art as well. Teaching artwork, studying different forms of art, maybe learn 3 more languages. Taking my work overseas. Visiting Tokyo, London, Paris, Italy. Building a charity in my name, giving away scholarships to fulfill multiple of people’s dreams to go to the college they desire, in some kind of art program. To shape and change this world into something new, something for my children and others children to admire the work that I have put into this world would be where I see myself in 20 years. To be someone else’s Inspiration, would be great.
If you could work on a creative project with anyone in the world from any period in time who would it be?
Any project in the world, with anyone in the world? I don’t know a lot of architects but I would like to work with my close friends to build an art emperor. I have a few friends that I can think of off the top of my head. Maurice Smith, Kayla Mueller, Aftyn Giles, James Price, Justin Chester, Mario Quinn just to name a few. They are all in Pittsburgh, Pa. It would be something more than just artist coming together to make things work. Something or a more epic level. Where everyone is equal not over anyone. Working together to better these abandon areas in this world. Building homes for the unfortunate, breathing life back into something so damaged an broken. Going from state to state, city to city and bringing hope back to communities. Bringing the best out of people. Designing the Future is more of what I want to do.
Any last words you would like to say to the Section 8 Magazine readers worldwide?
I would like to say that progress is the key to this world or living in that matter. I’ve been watching Luke Cage on Netflix and one thing out of everything that was going on, stuck out to me and attached to me was; “MOVING FORWARD ALWAYS”. I know that I look back on some of my artwork when I was younger and think man. I really sucked back then but I thought it was great my friends around me thought it was great. My Father Steve Grinter always keeps telling me; “BE A SHARK” I really didn’t understand it at first but when you think about it. Sharks keep moving even while sleeping. My Mother Michele Grinter always tells me; “KEEP GOING, NOBODY CAN STOP YOU BUT YOU”… I’m trying to say Never Give up on yourself, because some out there isn’t giving up on you. “FORWARD ALWAYS”.
Thank you so much for the interview, I really appreciate it, this is a milestone in my career as an artist.
See more art from Etienne Grinter at http://egrinter.wixsite.com/3nigma