Lewis Mark Grimes discovered the artist inside of him when he began attending Cuyamaca College after a successful career as a literary agent.
“I didn’t know I had an aptitude for art at all until I came to Cuyamaca and took some assessment tests that showed this is where I had a talent,” Grimes said. “I’ve received nothing but encouragement from my professors, who were excited about me starting out in something new and loved what I was doing.”
Grimes, who was named to the Phi Theta Kappa All-California Academic Team, has a 3.8 GPA at Cuyamaca and has his eyes set on securing a master of fine arts degree. His focus is on feather rishi, a new art form inspired by the ancient Egyptian art of rishi. His works are composed using macro photography of his molted feather collection from companion birds. A recent grant enabled him to make prototype scarves from some of his designs and test marketing is underway. If targets are met, another grant will fund production of scarves for the new business.
One of the first courses that Grimes took when he came to Cuyamaca College in 2008 was Personal Development Counseling, which helps students find their niche and succeed in college and in life. After assessment tests showed he could have a promising future in the arts, Grimes signed up for courses in graphic design.
During an Introduction to Adobe Programs class, Grimes became more adept in using Photoshop. It was then that he started scanning feathers from his collection and employing macro – or extreme close-up – photography to develop stunning images, images that are now being used to help design a line of scarves in his fledgling business.
“I needed models for my projects and found myself using my feather collection more and more,” Grimes said. “In Photoshop I developed a technique that I am using today to rehabilitate the molted feathers of companion birds.”
Besides starting a business to license and sell his artwork, Grimes hopes to establish a nonprofit that will compile a digital museum of all known feathers.
Grimes said he decided to enroll at Cuyamaca because of the atmosphere he found on campus.
“I went to several schools and walked around, and Cuyamaca was by far the most welcoming and accommodating,” Grimes said. “I love the location of the school and the teachers here are amazing.”