In the fall of 1971, the Southeast Missourian was preparing for its 25th annual art exhibition, transforming its newspaper offices into an art gallery and inviting local residents to come in and enjoy.
One of the newcomers to Cape Girardeau’s art scene that year was Grant Lund, a professor of art at Southeast Missouri State College. His contribution to the Missourian Art Exhibition earned him a front-page feature story on Nov. 18, 1971:
Grant L. Lund, a new assistant professor of art at State Cllege, holds “The Modern Old Days,” one of two large wood-block prints in The Missourian Art Exhibition this weekend. (Southeast Missourian archive)
WOOD-BLOCK PRINTS PORTRAY FORCE OF ‘MAVERICK’ ARTIST
By JOHN G. ADNEY
Missourian city editor
A lot of things — and emotions — are behind the works of Grant L. Lund.
“I’m a kind of maverick in the art field,” says the State College assistant art professor of art who will display two large wood-block prints at the silver anniversary Missourian Art Exhibition this weekend.
The newly-arrived Cape Girardean has crammed a variety of jobs, interests and residences in his 34 years. But considers himself an artist most of all.
Mr. Lund’s “maverick” label stems partly from his wide-ranging interests in the visual arts. He hasn’t settled on one subject or medium
He possesses a great interest in painting — in oils, watercolors and other media — and enjoys drawing and photography. He’s a sculptor too.
But his foremost love is print-making, especially from wood cuts of his own creation.
Mr. Lund also considers himself a “maverick” because he plays the roles of both artist and instructor, welding the two together whenever possible.
He shows much interest in the efforts of his young State College artists but does not allow his classroom job to overcome his more personal role of being an artist himself.
Coming to Cape Girardeau just a few months ago from Pennsylvania after spending much of his life in the West, Mr. Lund’s probing eyes constantly search the area for new subjects to capture on wood-block and rice paper or canvass.
Usually smiling and sot-spoken, his quiet personality hides the forcefulness of his creative feelings — such as his experiences that resulted in “Sins,” a 22-by-33-inch print that will be in Th Missourian Exhibition.
“I’ve always been interested in religion and overawed by religious artwork,” says the Utah Mormon who once was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
“Sins” is based on “the concept of mercy and justice as taught by the Bible,” Mr. Lund explains. The print shows a figure throwing off his sins.
“If you don’t throw them (sins) off you have to bear them yourself,” he says while viewing the stark print. “If you repent you come under the lot of mercy rather than the lot of justice.”
“The Modern Old Days,” his other print in the Saturday-Sunday show, also has a special meaning to the artist — and to his wife Marcia.
“I broke my wife in on that stove,” he says of the ancient cook stove that stars in the print of an old-fashioned kitchen.
The idea for the print came from a wilderness cabin where, as newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. Lund lived while working on summer for the U.S. Forestry Service in Nevada’s Ruby Mountain Scenic Area.
They enjoyed it so much they spent two more summers there, working on fire and trail crews.
Much work goes into the prints bearing the Lund signature.
In the beginning is an idea. “I think about a print a long time before I start to draw,” Mr. Lund says. From the drawings he traces an image on a piece f wood from which a print will be made — by hand — on special paper.
Mr. Lund spent “between 20 and 30 hours) carving with assorted tools the wood blocks from which the two Missourian Art Exhibition prints were made.
Because of their large size, two pieces of wood were required for each block. After carving and chiseling and sanding, the pieces were interlocked and glued together.
Then the print emerges. Mr. Lund does not use a printing press. The paper — he prefers rice paper — is placed on the inked block and rubbed with a special tool.
One of a kind
He makes as many prints as he wishes but usually produces “limited editions.” The print of “Sins” is one of a kind — it is only the proof.
Mr. Lund has participated in art exhibitions for more than a decade and has taught eight years. He holds a bachelor of science in art degree from Brigham Young University, Salt Lake City, Utah. He also holds a master of fine arts degree and has been studying toward his doctorate at Penn State University at State College, Pennsylvania, where he taught print print-making before coming to Cape Girardeau. He hopes to complete requirements for his doctorate next summer.
Grant Lund passed away in March 2021 in Orem, Utah.
His obituary in the Southeast Missourian described his legacy: “He will be remembered as an artist, educator, father, grandfather and husband who loved to engage everyone in his passion for how people relate to art.”