By Molly Mobley
Professor Charles Clary has been consumed by a passion for art his entire life. As an art professor and a successful 3-D paper sculptor, he’s now able to share his wonderful art affliction with the world.
Some of Clary’s earliest memories are of observing his mother, an art teacher, at her drafting table and being encouraged to put his imagination of paper.
“My mom had an art room with a drafting table, and my first memory [of art] was me sitting next to her drafting table as she was working on her stuff, and I would be drawing cartoons and weird characters based off of cartoons, and she would always be really supportive of what I was doing and would make helpful commentary every now and again, but got me really excited about what I was doing,” Clary said fondly.
He’s been creating masterpieces ever since.
Raised in Morristown, Tenn., his art eventually drew him to Middle Tennessee State University, where he obtained his first degree in painting. After graduating, Clary decided to pursue other opportunities.
“I took a couple years off and just experienced life,” Clary said. “I got a real job, and I hated every minute of it, and just realized it wasn’t something I wanted to do.”
While working another job, he was still spending his down time creating original works. He had developed a certain style in his last undergrad semester and liked the direction it took.
“It was more me; it wasn’t trying to be anything other than what I wanted to do,” Clary said. “ It was the first time that I felt really comfortable with the work, but it wasn’t ready for grad school, so I took a couple years off. About a year later, I was really fed up, and that’s when I decided to go to grad school.”
Clary enrolled in graduate school at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and from there his work began to infiltrate the art scene. Through the school, he was able to participate in a New York residency art program for three months. This led to an internship in Brooklyn, and eventually developed into a freelance job in Miami. But it was in New York that Clary’s’ art took a turn from 2-D painting to 3-D paper sculptures.