Small town kid, big city artist

Grant McMartin, shown above, is a Grundy County native who works as a full-time artist at his studio in Chicago. (Michaela Kendall/The Grundy Register photo)

How a Grundy Center-native made a name for himself in the Chicago art scene

On an ordinary-looking farmstead between Grundy Center and Eldora, Grant McMartin leans back on velvet sofa, furbished in a shocking shade of electric blue, in his tool shed turned art studio.

His pants are spattered with white paint, and all around him lay the tools of his trade: paintbrushes with specks of color still on the bristles, tubes of oil paint in a rainbow array, and half-completed paintings, waiting for the finishing touch.

For McMartin, who grew up outside Grundy Center and graduated from Wellsburg-Steamboat Rock High School in 1989, art isn’t just a hobby – it’s his life.

For the past 10 years, McMartin has been a full-time artist, with a studio in Chicago where he commissions art for private collectors, galleries and museums all around Chicago, and even as far as New York and California. But he’s also a part-time farmer, who comes back to Grundy Center to help out on the family farm when he can. 

This week, McMartin is back in Iowa to attend the Dubuque Museum of Art biennial, where he has some art on display, and he graciously agreed to sit down with The Grundy Register to talk about his work and the artistic journey that led him to where he is today. 

 

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