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Grandmother inspired artist

While Joshua Story’s grandmother watched her “stories” on television in the afternoons, she encouraged him paint to pass the time.

Without her artistic inspirations, he would not be the formal artist he is today.

“She is the reason I am pursuing art as a career,” Joshua Story said.

The Art Guild will host a show of more than 30 pieces of Story’s art for the July artist of the month collection.

“I am very excited that Josh is studying art because it is something that I am into, and I am very proud of his show that he is bringing,” said Edna Story, his grandmother and an Art Guild member.

Edna Story began painting more than 30 years ago and now works mainly with oil paints, watercolors and charcoal.

Joshua Story is the first student artist to show an entire collection at the gallery, and this is Story’s first solo show.

A Selma native and high school graduate of Marion Military Institute, Story will receive a bachelor’s of science and arts in studio art from the University of South Alabama in Mobile in December.

Printmaking, running a canvas through an ink press, is Story’s favorite project because it offers him a different variety of media to use in one piece.

“I really enjoyed working with the canvas off the stretcher because it’s something about the material that is totally different once it’s stretched,” Story said. “It seems more real to handle it off the stretcher. It feels more like fabric.”

To run the canvas through the press, Story removes the wooden pieces, called the stretcher, prints the design with a carved oak or birch wooden stamp, paints on the print and runs the print through the machine again to print atop the paint.

“By looking at it, it’s hard to tell about how much time of the different processes go into it,” Story said.

He can spend as long as a month to complete the process from cutting and designing the wooden block to printing and layering the paint and ink.

“I’m not just a painter, I’m not just a ceramic artist and I’m not just a sculptor,” Story said. “I’m an artist all the way around. I just love to create.”

Most of his pieces are not named.

“I don’t really name a piece because it is what it is, and I don’t have to name it to get the meaning across for it,” Story said. “I make it and I don’t rely on a name to make it better. I just make it and let it be what it is.”

Sally Jordan, Art Guild president, learned about Story and his art from his grandmother. The Guild has featured art from more than 40 artists in high school and middle school from Morgan Academy and Dallas County High School during the show in May, and now will feature Story’s work.

“We need to support rising artists and let them have a venue and let other people see what they do,” Jordan said.

The Art Guild will hold an opening reception for Story on Friday from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the gallery, 508 Selma Ave., where visitors will also have a chance to meet Story.

The Art Guild Gallery will be open for viewing every Friday and Saturday in July from noon until 4 p.m. Admission is free.