Artist Spotlight: Yeala Grimes '21
By Emma Campbell '21
If you have ever taken a stroll through the Back to School Art Show in McCleary, or even glanced at the cover of this year’s planner, chances are that you have seen multiple pieces by 17-year-old student Yeala Grimes (‘21). Ever since her introduction to Severn in ninth grade, Grimes has been an avid member of the art community. Her portraits of Muhammad Ali and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were displayed last year, and her portrait for the memory project two years ago still leaves viewers in awe. In the past, she has also contributed her skills to the Spirit Week banner, murals used in theater productions, and covers of Severn publications. Beyond Severn, her achievements flourish, as she has established a rising reputation in the larger community as well.
Within the past few years, Grimes has grown her hobby into a small business. She has gained regular clients who commission portraits, showcased her pieces in “vendor’s shows,” around the area, created pins and other trinkets to sell, and entered in various art competitions. Last year, her digital art piece was part of an exhibit in Walters Art Museum, sponsored by the Association of Independent Maryland & DC Schools. Her range consists of many types of media, anything from basic pencil and paper, to digital art, to 3D sculptures. An acute eye for detail and unrelenting persistence prove to be her best assets, as any of her projects can take weeks to complete.
One particular artwork that stands out in her memory is a large portrait of Harrison Ford as Han Solo, which was submitted to an art contest in 2017. From there, it was chosen to be exhibited at BWI Airport along with twenty other selected works. Currently, Yeala sets to work on two portraits for clients, along with this year’s memory project and the backdrop for our production of The Tempest. She encourages other young artists to continue practicing and to expand their comfort zones into other media and styles. “If you want to perfect something, make sure you try it in every way possible,” she says. “Don’t do the same standing pose all the time, or three-quarter faces looking slightly from the side, because you’ll get stuck. It’s important to constantly push yourself and try different things with your art.