● By Wendy Sipple
Photo by Dante Fontana
To paraphrase the ancient philosopher Confucius...if you choose a job you love...you will never have to work a day in your life.
That pretty much explains the thinking of Shane Grammer. This self-described “urban modern artist” has turned his art into his business or, is it the other way around?
Grammer knew pretty early in life he wanted to be an artist and that he was good at it. “I would immerse myself in school art projects,” Grammer admits. Although he dabbled in art throughout school, his passion really hit while attending Butte College in Oroville, CA. While walking along a corridor he caught a glimpse of the '80s PBS documentary Style Wars about graffiti artists. He was moved by the art of graffiti, not the illegality of it. “Graffiti taught me to be a modern artist.” Grammer says, “It showed me how to color outside of the lines.” He then made his way to San Francisco, where the graffiti art he experienced there really opened up his eyes. “We did nothing illegal,” Grammer explains, “and I really learned how to use color.” He is not only inspired by spray painted images, masters like Michelangelo, and even children’s art can motivate Grammer’s creative juices. “I like to say I am an out-of-the-box artist,” he says.
It is hard to define Grammer’s work; he explains it as a mix of “cartoony,” whimsical and realistic urban looks. Since the mid ‘90s he has broken new ground in the themed environment industry. He developed and mastered processes to bring the three dimensional art to life. “I believe I was created,” Grammer explains, “to be a creator.” He is so excited and enthusiastic about his work, he cannot wait until his daughters, Elliana and Sophia, can join him in the studio. He is also planning on a series of books and videos to encourage others to follow their dreams as artists.
His work is renowned and can be seen around the country and internationally. Installations by his company SG Studios and his personal artistic work are featured in public venues from New York City to locally in the Sacramento area. His work also brightens children’s orphanages in Mexico and Lima, Peru. “My pursuit is to have my art bring out emotions in people,” Grammer says.
When the non-denominational church Rock of Roseville built their new campus, Project Manager John Vaccaro asked Grammer, a longstanding member of the congregation, to design and build several age-appropriate children’s areas. “We gave Shane the freedom to do what he wanted,” Vaccaro says, “and we were very happy with the results.”
Former Starbuck’s barista and construction worker, Ryan Eiferd, has been assisting Grammer for nearly three years and enjoys working with the artist. He works on all aspects of the art projects from concept to final installation. “Being creative is hard,” Eiferd admits, “but the work is fun!”
For more information on Grammer’s work, visit sgstudios.org.