Monthly Archives: July 2022

Quick on the Draw

People

Photos courtesy of Jacob Boland

A fast-working local artist loves to create quirky characters that show up anywhere from volumes of sketchbooks to public places.

Local cartoonist and illustrator Jacob Boland, who creates original characters with ink and paint, often encourages fellow artists to make their work public or share it with other people.

“A lot of people are nervous about showing their stuff,” he says.

Once upon a time, Boland, who has been drawing since childhood, was one of those people. “For years, I would keep everything in a sketchbook,” he says. “A couple of local artists saw my work online and told me to share it.”

That was about five years ago, and now there’s no telling where his characters might pop up. They rotate in and out of local bars and restaurants, and his artwork is available at Art on Broad.

“I’m always downtown taking photos. I draw my characters into real life backgrounds,” he says. “I draw characters over the photos, almost like Roger Rabbit.”

His drawings can be found in a variety of places ranging from a picket fence outside of New Moon Café in Aiken to a T-shirt for Mema Had One, a vintage shop that often is a source of inspiration for him. “I like antiques, and I get inspiration from ’40s and ’50s maps and cartoons,” says Boland.

His characters also appear in the form of plywood cutouts that he likes to put up in downtown Augusta, Athens and Savannah. Boland will attach them to walls or situate his cutouts so that they’re reacting to the environment.

For instance, he might place a character so that it’s peeking or climbing over a fence. If a cutout character looks disgusted, he will position it by a dumpster.

He sells or gives away the cutouts, but he also doesn’t mind if appreciative observers take home a cutout that they find in a public place. “I’ve met a lot of local artists that way,” Boland says.

Go with the Flow

Boland, who grew up reading Archie comic books and Mad Magazine, was an Army brat who moved often as a child. However, he discovered that drawing was a good way for him to connect with his peers.

“It was a great way to make friends,” says Boland, who also served as a medic in the U.S. Army for four years. “I was very shy, but people would come up to me in the classroom and say, ‘What are you doing?’”

While his work may be unconventional, there is a method to the madness. Boland, who draws quickly, never goes anywhere without pen and paper, and he draws every day.

He starts with a draft using regular pen and notepad, but he uses a calligraphy pen for most of his work. He also makes clay models of his characters, but he’s not afraid to deviate from the forms in the final piece.

“I usually carry a sketchbook with me everywhere I go. At the end of the day, I see what I’ve done. The next morning I put it on watercolor or Bristol paper,” says Boland. “I just like creating characters. It’s really fun to have them occupy a space on paper and not just scribbled in a notebook.”

Boland doesn’t have a set thought in his mind when he starts drawing in his loose, flowing style. “It’s just fun to draw that way,” he says. “I don’t like drawing traditional human shapes. They have human traits in a way, but they’re really cartoony.”

He always starts with a face when he draws, and his characters typically have long snouts or dolphin-like beaks. If the beak is facing upward, the character is happy. If it’s facing downward, the character is brooding.

“Once I draw the face and shape of the character, it tells me what they’re going to be doing,” says Boland.

He gives a back story to his characters, and he frequently incorporates his own personality into his cartoon figures. Boland describes himself as “nervous,” and some of his characters are jittery as well.

“For each drawing, I come up with a character, narrative or personality,” he says. “I like to try to stay positive. A lot of my characters are happy.”

Sometimes, but not often, he cleans up his work digitally.

“People are afraid to show their mistakes,” says Boland. “If I scratch or smear something, I keep it. With digital, you’re constantly cleaning it up.”

Boland, who works primarily in black and white, also prefers original artwork to prints. “I try to do stuff where it’s one and done,” he says. “We live in a world where everything can be archived or replicated.”

Always Teaching, Always Learning

He also shares his knowledge and talent with students at Jessye Norman School of the Arts, where he has taught photography and film since 2019. He teaches 10- to 17-year-olds, but mostly students ages 13-15.

Each semester the subject matter changes, expanding beyond filming and editing. For instance, his students have made set designs out of cardboard and wood, and a lot of his characters have been featured in the sets.

At a summer camp, his students made racecars out of blocks of wood and had to figure out how to make them work.

Last year he curated a window display project for the school in which four young artists – two college-age people and two in their early 20s – were invited to participate, and he is overseeing the project again this year.

“We’re always on the lookout for emerging artists,” says Boland.

Four artists are participating, and each one will have their work showcased during a season of the year. In November, the school will have an onsite public gallery showing of the artists’ work.

Boland pushes his students to be themselves and to be open to new concepts, and he has continued to evolve as an artist himself.

“I love to try new things in terms of art,” he says. “I have tried charcoal and different types of paint. I’m learning to mix my own ink together, which is a kind of unpredictability. Figuring out materials to draw on is always fun.”

Although he paints primarily with acrylics (“Since I draw really fast, I like my paint to dry really fast,” says Boland.), he started using watercolors a couple of years ago. “I like the unpredictability of it,” he says. “It’s kind of like a snowflake.”

He also has self-published several sketchbooks, including a medical illustration book called “Grotesqueries” that he released in April.

In addition, Boland is working on a dark humor portrait series for older teens and adults. He expects to finish this book, which will include 125 portraits, by August or September.

His books generally are available at the Book Tavern downtown as well as other independent booksellers in Athens, Atlanta and Savannah. “Mostly, I sell them out of my car or my house or through social media,” he says.

Two years ago, he started self-publishing his own comic books. He creates cartoon characters such as macho cowboys, Clint Eastwood-types and spies.

“I’m just gradually testing out what works and what doesn’t,” Boland says.

Dream Journal

He has graduated from drawing on kitchen or restaurant tables to using a drafting table that a friend bought him four years ago.

“It has changed the entire way I work. It’s kind of like having a dream journal right next to my bed,” says Boland. “It has made me more consistent. Having it in the same room, I can wake up in the morning and knock out stuff then and there.”

He believes that art is meant to be shared, particularly in public settings.

“Art is for everyone. I love to see murals downtown or the work of local artists when I go out of town,” says Boland. “I get more joy out of seeing something everyone can see that’s not exclusive. Hopefully, it inspires other people to do the same thing.”

For more information about Boland and his work, visit Instagram.com/wholebolafun or patreon.com/wholebolafun.

By Leigh Howard

Home Run

Sports

Photos courtesy of USA Baseball

A 12-year-old Evans resident is part of the elite 18-player roster to represent Team USA in the Baseball World Cup in Taiwan.

It seems like Greenbrier Middle School seventh grader Colin Anderson constantly has to adjust his goals. His latest? To bring back a gold medal for the United States from the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-12 Baseball World Cup in Tainan, Taiwan.

Colin was named by USA Baseball to the 18-player roster for the 2022 12U National Team on July 1. When he found out he made the team, he says, “I just started crying because that was a big goal.”

Even if he hadn’t made the team, however, Colin, 12, who plays travel baseball year-round for the Savannah-based Next Level Prospects, already was in select company.

After competing in the Futures Invitational in June with hundreds of other players in Cary, North Carolina, he was one of only 36 players nationwide to be invited to the 2022 USA Baseball 12U National Team Trials, also in Cary, from June 27 – July 1.

“Originally, I just went there to try to make the top 36,” says Colin. “Once I got invited to the top 36, I got really excited.”

‘A Great Experience’

The 12U National Team will be one of a dozen teams from around the globe to compete in the Baseball World Cup July 29 – August 7.

One group of teams includes the United States, Guam, Dominican Republic, Korea, Japan and the Czech Republic.

The other group is made up of Chinese Taipei (the home team and defending world champions), Mexico, Venezuela, Italy, South Africa and Panama.

Team USA opened its World Cup schedule on Friday, July 29 against the Czech Republic.

“The games are being streamed on the WBSC YouTube channel, and they also will be picked up by ABC or CBS,” says Colin’s mother, Bree Anderson.

Colin, who started playing baseball when he was 5 years old, is excited about the opportunity to represent the United States in the Baseball World Cup.

“I have no words. The best thing in baseball is to represent your country,” he says. “It’s a great experience for me to play on television like the MLB players do, and it’s great to meet the other players.”

They have had ample opportunity to bond with each other as Team USA traveled to Stockton, California, for training on July 19 before leaving for Taiwan on July 23. Nine states are represented on the team, and Colin is the only player from Georgia on the roster.

Before he left town, he said he was looking forward to “the experience, the people I get to meet and playing in a bigger tournament than usual. Being on TV in general is cool, especially when you’re 12.”

Although Colin, who bats and throws right-handed, plays primarily first base and third base for the Prospects, he likely will play centerfield for Team USA.

“When balls get hit to the gap, you get to dive to get them,” he says of the outfield position.

He likes playing third base as well. “I have a really good glove and good hands,” says Colin, who made the All-State team in Georgia last year. “You get to jump and catch.”

He brings much more than his defensive skills to the team, however.

“He’s a big hitter,” says Bree.

After all, with a batting average of .544, according to his PerfectGame.org profile, it’s not surprising that he’s happiest when he’s standing at home plate with a bat in his hands.

(Perfect Game is the premier provider of amateur baseball events, hosting the highest quality travel team tournaments and individual showcase events throughout the country. PG collaborates with Major League Baseball and other baseball partners to grow the game, and its database, scouting reports and player rankings are a valuable resource for college coaches and MLB scouts.)

“Hitting is probably my favorite,” says Colin. “When you’re fielding and there are two outs in the bottom of the eighth or ninth (inning), there’s less pressure on making a play than hitting.”

Sweat Equity

Colin has had plenty of support in his young baseball career, but playing for a Savannah-based team hasn’t always been easy.

“My parents are super nice and great, and they take me to mandatory practices and games,” he says.

His mom and dad aren’t the only ones who have pitched in to help him succeed, however. His friends are rooting for him as well.

“They’re excited for me to go play and represent my country across the whole world,” he says.

Colin also is invested in the budding baseball careers of his two younger brothers, ages 5 and 8. “One of my goals is for them to be as good or better than me,” he says.

“There’s been a lot of sweat from all of us,” Bree says. “But it’s been totally worth it.”

Perhaps that sweat equity will pay off in the medal games on August 7 when Colin hopes Team USA will play for – and win – the gold medal. He also hopes to get better at the sport itself so he can achieve yet another goal of playing Major League Baseball one day.

“The game is super fun and amazing, and the people you meet help you achieve bigger goals in your life,” says Colin.

In the meantime, though, he has other things on his plate with the rare opportunity to compete for a world championship.

The Baseball World Cup takes place every two years, but this is a makeup year from 2021 because of covid. This is the sixth edition of the youth baseball world championship, and the United States, winning consecutive gold medals in 2013, 2015 and 2017, has a world-best three titles at the U-12 level.

By Todd Beck

Classic Charm and Character

In The Home

Photography by Sally Kolar

Using their natural talents, natural materials and love of tradition, this Evans couple built a timeless home in Magnolia Ridge.

When Evans residents Amanda and Jamie Pierce built their custom home in Magnolia Ridge six years ago, the couple got much more than a new place to live. She also had the chance to put her creative skills to use.

“I loved the creative aspect of it,” says Amanda, a former pediatric nurse who has an expert in e-design certification. “When we built the house, I loved the whole process. I planned for it for a long time.”

Amanda leans toward timeless, classic designs that can withstand ever-changing trends, and she also finds inspiration in historic architecture and industrial interiors with features such as high ceilings and exposed brick.

Her aunt, who is an interior designer, and her maternal grandmother have been big influences on her as well.

“She’s a classy lady with a unique style,” Amanda says of her grandmother. “Her homes were always different. They stood out because they were not like anyone else’s. A lot of things I do in design and in life, I do because I saw her do them.”

She also says that she and Jamie have similar tastes, but he had a few requests such as a large fireplace, a pool and a porch where he can grill. However, he says he mostly just tried to stay out of the way.

“When we built the house, she drew the design on a piece of notebook paper. She designed every nook and cranny,” says Jamie, a mortgage banker. “I didn’t need to give any input. She knows her stuff.”

After all, when it comes to his wife, his instincts have served him well. Jamie and Amanda first met at a Shelter Cove Marina fireworks show in her hometown of Hilton Head Island, where his family had gone on an annual vacation, when he was 17 and she was 15.

For three years, they had a long distance relationship, which consisted of lots of old-fashioned landline calls and letters in those pre-cell phone days, before they both ended up at schools in Athens.

“I knew that she was about the cutest thing I’d ever seen, so I took my shot,” says Jamie, who graduated from Lakeside High School.

“He thought he was just going to talk to girls, but he found a wife,” says Amanda of the night they met.

Stately Presence

The Pierces discovered their lot of almost four acres on frequent visits to their friends’ house, which also is in the neighborhood. Because it took years for the 15-acre subdivision, which was divided into smaller lots, to be developed, however, the couple had plenty of time to collect items for their home.

Even though it is only six years old, their house, which is constructed of brick that they painted white and features creeping fig that grows on the front steps, has the feel of a stately old home that has stood its ground for generations.

“We built a brick house because we wanted it to last,” says Amanda.

An arched entryway, salted concrete floor and a tongue-and-groove ceiling accent the covered front porch. Adding to the timeless look of the home, a gas lantern hangs on the exterior wall on either side of the steps.

Mandevilla and roses fill a pair of planters on the front porch, and a metal roof on a slanted seam tops a bay window on the front of the house. On the corner of the property, a maple tree that they can tap for syrup adds character to the lot.

Creeping fig also climbs a wall on the back of the house. “It looks kind of like a French café,” Amanda says of the vine. “I like a European look in some things.”

Another covered porch on the back of the house borrows some features from the front porch. The back porch also includes salted concrete flooring and a metal shed roof on a slanted seam. Edison lights, a television and teak furnishings add to its appeal.

Cedar columns and exposed cedar rafters also accent the back porch, and a cedar bar sits beneath a pass-through window to the kitchen.

“I love all of the rustic wood beams and reclaimed wood in the house,” says Jamie.

Inside, where the first floor features 10-foot ceilings, Eastern white pine flooring can be found throughout the house.

Neutral & Natural

In the foyer, which features houseplants, a twine light fixture and a jute rug, the shiplap walls are made of Eastern white pine that has been painted white. The same shiplap walls extend into the living room, which also features pecky, or wormy, cypress beams.

The mantel of the gas brick fireplace, also painted white, is made of reclaimed barnwood from the Indiana homestead of a Civil War general. Two wood chests fit into the space on either side of the fireplace beneath a pair of open shelves.

The books in the living room were ones that Amanda’s father kept in his room when he was a boy, and she created the abstract artwork, which Jamie framed, above the fireplace by painting over drywall mud.

“I like neutral abstracts. They’re calming,” says Amanda.

A fiddleleaf fig, which thrives on neglect, adds a splash of greenery to the living room.

The adjoining dining area features shiplap walls and a custom-built pine table, which is surrounded by upholstered chairs. The galvanized metal light fixture above the table was one of the first items Amanda bought for their new home.

A pecky cypress door frame also leads from the dining area to the kitchen.

On the kitchen island, a trio of artichokes atop a teak cutting board and a domed cake pedestal with a plant inside of it bring a natural, earthy ambiance to the room. Several wood cutting boards, white bowls and copper pieces accent the space as well.

Other kitchen features include quartz countertops, a hammered copper farmhouse sink, lots of drawer space, a walk-in pantry, recessed lighting and a wood range hood.

Two open wood shelves by the sink and another pair of open wood shelves on the opposite wall are held in place by exposed waxed steel brackets.

Keeping a neat, clean look in the kitchen, a vertical row of 1 1/2-by-1 1/2-inch magnetic photos lines the side of the refrigerator door. Amanda also has pictures of their teenagers – Finley and Beckett – on the inside of cabinet doors.

“I don’t have a lot of family photos on the wall, but I know where our pieces come from,” says Amanda. “I have a lot of things that came from my parents or grandparents.”

For instance, her paternal grandfather’s Army trunk is tucked beneath a bench against a wall near the kitchen. The wall also features a remote light fixture above a canvas print of a moth that is flanked by skinny mirrors on either side.

A guest suite, where Amanda’s parents stay when they visit from Hilton Head, includes décor that is meaningful to them. A decorative frog on the floor belonged to her mother, and one of her mother’s favorite books of poetry rests on the bedside table.

“I wanted everything in the house to be purposeful,” says Amanda. “I wanted to love every single thing.”

The guest room décor also includes a floor lamp with a wood tripod base, a desk and a framed map of Banner Elk, North Carolina, the Pierces’ favorite vacation spot.

Architecture elements include a bay window, but the focal point of the room is the gray accent wall that Amanda and Jamie crafted by applying furring strips to it in a geometric pattern.

A framed map of Hilton Head hangs in the hallway between the bedroom and bath, and a pocket door leads to the suite.

“I like pocket doors because they close off a space but keep everything compact,” says Amanda.

Privacy & Peacefulness

The master bedroom offers the couple a private space to relax. The bed has a hand-carved wood headboard, and a large picture of a rabbit with a vintage look rests on the dresser. “It looks like something you would see in the ’20s,” says Amanda.

However, her favorite spot in the house is the versatile sitting room that adjoins the master bedroom. The sitting room features pecky cypress beams and more abstract artwork by Amanda.

The private space also offers a place to watch television, and Amanda uses the room as an office, where she creates design boards for clients, and a workout room.

The master bath includes a free-standing soaking tub, two vanities, marble countertops, a chandelier and a walk-in tile shower with a pebble tile floor and walls that mimic shiplap.

In the summer, the Pierces spend a lot of time on the back porch and around the pool, which features a pebble tech bottom and a tanning ledge. The deck and ledge are made of salted concrete, and they drew out the shape of the pool with a specific goal in mind.

“We wanted to have a small pool so it would have a natural spring look,” says Amanda.

They use the copper kettle fire pit in the backyard year-round to burn yard clippings or to gather around the flame, and there’s no place Jamie would rather be than their outdoor living space.

“It’s so peaceful out here,” he says.

By Betsy Gilliland

Grovetown K-9 Unit

Buzz

The city of Grovetown is getting a K-9 unit, thanks to the generosity of the Shield Club of Greater Augusta.

The city’s Police Department recently received a $14,500 donation from the organization to help establish the department’s first K-9 unit.

The department will use the contribution to purchase a dual-purpose K-9 trained in narcotics detection and tracking.

The funds also will go toward the purchase of equipment associated with the program as well as training and certification for a K-9 handler.