By Curt Yeomans
Greg Rucker sees art as something that is more than a hobby. He sees it as a passion which allows him to tap into his creative side.
When Rucker was 13, he began making sculptures out of cardboard. The now-41-year-old Army staff sergeant, based out of Fort Benning in Columbus, has made several sculptures out of the same material most people use for packing purposes.
Rucker begins his craft by drawing out what he wants to make on the cardboard. Then, he cuts the shapes out, and pastes them together to make a sculpture. He said his largest, and most challenging, sculpture depicted Jesus being crucified on the cross. It measured six-and-a-half feet in height, by six-and-a-half feet in width.
"I love taking something that other people would call junk, and turning it into something beautiful," Rucker said.
In 2003, Rucker created a cardboard stagecoach, drawn by six cardboard horses, while he was stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska.
He spent a year creating the sculpture, which received a first-place ribbon on Thursday for best-in-show at Arts Clayton's Gallery, 136 South Main St., Jonesboro.
McDonough resident, Dustin Cramer, won second place for his acrylic painting of an RV driver, and Atlanta resident, Jerushia Graham, won third place for one of her wood block prints.
Honorable mention honors went to Larry McDonald, William Evans and Michael Sawecki. James Lewchuk received a "Patron's Award" for his photograph of the ceiling of the Vatican museum.
The pieces of artwork are part of a new exhibit at Arts Clayton, entitled "The Road Traveled." The exhibit is on display at the gallery until Sept. 26, and contains 75 pieces of sculpture; wood-block prints; photographs; quilts, and paintings created by Georgia artists.
"It's the open road, or the path home," said Karen Powers, the manager of the Arts Clayton gallery. "Life is a journey, in both the literal sense, and the metaphorical sense."
The gallery also is featuring an exhibit during August only, which is called "Explorations - Art and Science." This exhibit, which closes on Sept. 2, features paintings, drawings, woven art and sculptures that depict the human body and modern medicine.
The work was created by Women's Art Caucus of Atlanta members Marti Hand, Ann Rowles, Judy Parady, and Mary O'Horo.
The pieces in this exhibit range from Hand's paintings of red blood cells and the HIV virus, to Rowles crochet creations, which include a pelvic bone, a spine, and a human's entire digestive track, which hangs from the ceiling in the middle of the gallery room.
"That is the piece that catches everyone's attention," Powers said. "It's certainly a conversation piece. It's just something you wouldn't think to do with crochet."
The Arts Clayton Gallery is open Tuesday-Friday, from 9 a.m., to 5 p.m., and on Saturday, from 10 a.m., to 4 p.m.