Michael Grazick has always been artistic.
His father, Dennis, remembers Grazick visiting when he was young, spending most of the trip drawing or sculpting Play-Doh dinosaurs.
At 18, the Augusta Christian Schools senior has switched to graphite, ink and watercolors, but still creates with the same artistic fervor he displayed as child.
"He's so committed," said Marynell Parker, Grazick's art teacher for the past two years at Augusta Christian. "He just always working on his art. He is constantly thinking about the next composition - what is going to be the next thing he is going to do. He works all the time."
That work has paid off. Grazick was recently awarded a $11,040 scholarship to attend the Art Institute of Atlanta, where he plans to study graphic design.
Grazick's first show of his works, depicting mainly animals and his numerous travels on the cruise ship the S.S. Norway, opened in the lobby of the school's Fine Arts Center on Tuesday and will remain on display throughout April.
"He definitely has his own technique, and he developed it all on his own," said his father, Dennis, of Lilburn, Ga.
Grazick's works are often created by applying layer after layer of ink or graphite, his favorite medium.
"Graphite is easy for me to use because it is easy for me to smear," Grazick said, pointing a piece of lions with a smeared and clawed matted edge.
Tigers, wolves and lions, the school mascot, are frequent subjects for Grazick. Many of the works look real enough for visitors to reach out and touch the fur, one show visitor said.
"Animals are magnificent subjects to use," Grazick said.
He sold several large color ink drawings of orange tigers to Clemson fans at the school's fall festival.
According to his stepfather, Allen Genitski, Grazick often spends all day in his room working but always emerges with a spectacular work for opinions.
"The funny thing is when I start drawing a picture, I can see it finished in my head," Grazick said. "You can't get it out of your head until it is finished."
Parker said she has always been impressed with Grazick's natural talent and does not try as hard to teach him new techniques as she does encourage him. She said the best thing she can do for Grazick is to be his cheerleader.
"He is so totally involved in his artwork," Parker said. "He carries his artwork with him all the time. But he's a real likable person as well. He enjoys talking to people. He's not proud at all about all this talent that he has got.
"Art is his most important thing. But he doesn't have this attitude of looking down his nose at all. He's just really humble about all this talent that he has."
After a camp at the Art Institute of Atlanta last summer, Grazick's mind was made up to attend the school. After his May graduation, Grazick will be heading to the same campus that his father and mother, Susan Genitski, studied interior design when it was Massey Junior College.
"He's got the art genes," Grazick's father said.
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