Junior Grant Gruenhaupt explores various styles of art

On a daily basis, he works on his piece of art, learning more about it each day. With each stroke, he becomes one step closer to completing his masterpiece and feeling a sense of accomplishment for what he has put all his energy into for many hours.

Junior Grant Gruenhaupt has been creating art ever since he was 8. His work has ranged from quickly scribbling on a notepad to meticulous wood burning, which could take over 100 hours.

“I re-created the picture that I saw, and people were impressed with it,” Gruenhaupt said. “Like, OK, people think this is cool. So I guess I was motivated by the people that were inspired by it, and then it’s progressed more from that. It sort of translates to my faith.”

His motivation not only comes from the people in his life, but also from where he lives. Nature is another inspiration Gruenhaupt draws from due to his connection with wildlife painter Maynard Reece.

“For photography, it’s more that I’ve been inspired by a lot of photographers that I have been following on Instagram,” Gruenhaupt said. “Some of them are just adventure photographers, so they go out and just travel the world and take photos. That’s just kind of what I started on, and I was like, ‘OK this is kind of cool. This is what I want to capture and this is what I want to see is going. I want people to experience this.’ I guess it’s the next best thing to being there. The photos don’t compare to being there, obviously. I want to take photos to capture the feeling of the place and how I was feeling at that time.”

His interest in photography has sparked new horizons for Gruenhaupt as he recently won a photography contest which was featured on the cover of the Kansas City Star. This all started with a trip to Zion National Park in Utah. With each trip, Gruenhaupt becomes more and more intrigued in all of the adventures that come with wildlife. To Gruenhaupt, material things are far less significant than experiences, and photos help him express that. Even though he has taken up photography, Gruenhaupt said drawing will always be a part of his life.

“I love the freedom,” Gruenhaupt said. “Yeah, there are rules to art, but the last and definitely most important rule is to break all of the rules. [Drawing] is also a good way to escape, relieve stress or just have something to do when you’re bored.”

Junior Brady Lierz has been friends with Gruenhaupt since age 3, and he’s watched Gruenhaupt continue to grow in his art career. He said he truly thinks Gruenhaupt can do anything in his future.

“He’s incredibly talented, and I hope he pursues it as far as he can because, honestly, I think he would be very good at anything to do with art,” Lierz said. “I also hope he adapts to any opportunity he is presented with because while he may not find a career as strictly an ‘artist,’ there’s a lot of fields where he can use art as an advantage.”

Lierz said Gruenhaupt has a certain drive that keeps him creating. Making art does not all happen outside of the classroom; at school, Gruenhaupt has many people around him who support his actions and have high hopes and dreams regarding his future with art. In particular, art teacher Shawn Stelter has pushed Gruenhaupt to make him a better artist since his freshman year.

“I mean once you set your mind to it, you have the potential to do anything you want,” Stelter said. “The sky’s the limit. He can do whatever he wants to. As long as he keeps his passion for it and he keeps pushing himself, the sky’s the limit.”

Gruenhaupt has not quite decided what he wants to do with his future, but he does know that it will involve art which has been his passion for about nine years.

As a young boy, Gruenhaupt was involved in art, and he carried around a sketchbook everywhere he went. He has put in hours of practice with participation in multiple drawing and painting classes and involvement in National Art Honor Society. Gruenhaupt has worked hard and hopes to continue his artistic development as well as pursue his dedication to creating.

“If anyone thinks that I’m impressive, you’re just the same,” Gruenhaupt said. ”[It’s] just how much you’re willing to put into this because it is, I mean, it’s been a lot of commitment to me sometimes. I love art, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes you have to sacrifice things, like time needs to be sacrificed in order to be good and refine your skills and experiment. It takes time and it’s still taking time for me. I’m far away from where I’ll probably be in a few years, but it’s just that commitment and time that it takes.”