JASPER, Ind. — Students at Jasper High School watched a stallion form from clay last week as Phoenix sculptor Phillip Payne began his two-week residency at the school.

Although Payne has done residencies at several art galleries, he has never done one at a high school. Thursday he spoke to all the art classes answering questions about his art, his artistic process and the business side of art. He encouraged the students to pursue art if that’s what they’re interested in. If you know how to market your work, Payne said, you can make a living in the art world. In fact, Payne paid for his first car by sculpting his first piece at age 15.

“It wasn’t a nice car, but it had four wheels,” he said.

Senior Owen Rendel liked hearing about the business behind the art. Rendel hopes to combine graphic and web design to carve a niche for himself in the art world. He appreciated hearing another artist talk about how to market the product.

“He’s not just creating art,” Rendel said. “He’s got a lot of (business and economic) thought behind it.”

Senior Priscilla Olson also thought hearing Payne’s experiences with marketing his work were helpful. She hopes to go into fashion design, specifically wedding gowns. She appreciated Payne’s marketing advice.

“It was interesting to hear that you have to get out and market yourself,” Olson said. “He said it’s all about making connections.”

Payne plans to open an art gallery in Phoenix soon, and he encouraged the students to keep in touch and send him photos of pieces they think are worth displaying. If they’re good enough, he said, he’d show them. If they’re not, he’d provide feedback to help the artists improve.

“In the United States there’s a huge demand for art, especially from young artists,” Payne said. “If people see young artists really going after it, they will invest in them. I guarantee there are people right here in Jasper who will back you. There are people all over the country that will back you.”

Payne’s main goal during his residency is to show the students the value of art to communities and to show them that careers in art are possible. Of course, he’s showing the students how to create pieces too. This week, Payne worked on a horse sculpture in the art deco style (Think “The Great Gatsby” and the Empire State Building). Next week, he’s going to start on a sculpture of John Dillinger “in honor of Indiana,” he said.

Payne is working in an alcove near the art classroom that is open to the hallway. As students walk by during passing periods, they stop and ask what he’s doing. In his first three days, Payne said, he’s had several students stop by to chat and see what he’s doing, not all of them in art classes.

Part of what Payne loves about his job is getting to travel, meet and connect with new people and immerse himself in different cultures.

Payne said he’s grateful to the Friends of the Arts for coordinating his time in Jasper and to the community as a whole for making him feel welcome. He’s impressed at the value art has in the Jasper community as well.

“The way the kids here are being raised in the arts, I’m impressed,” Payne said.

A collection of Payne’s pieces, as well as a handful by his father, Ken Payne, are on display in Krempp Gallery.

The Friends of the Arts commissioned one of Payne’s newest pieces, “Beethoven: Feeling the Music,” as a gift to the Jasper Community Arts Commission. It was unveiled last week. The sculpture will be on permanent display in the Krempp gallery.

Source: Vincennes Sun Commercial, http://bit.ly/2dJF7ES

Information from: The Herald, http://www.dcherald.com

This is an AP-Indiana Exchange story offered by the Jasper Herald.