Drawing GREATness in Gresham
When Grant Hendrickson goes to local events, he has a simple but effective pitch to draw people to his business.
He asks them, "Hey, would you like your picture drawn by a surprisingly talented 8-year-old?"
Grant, who lives in Gresham with his family, is the owner and mind behind Artmazeing, his caricature business. He attends and offers drawings at local events like the Damascus Farmers Market, Sandy First Friday and the Gresham Arts Festival.
"I have a God-given talent of having very artistic hands, it's like they were made to draw," Grant said. "So, I put that talent into business."
Grant is also the youngest "green" entrepreneur in Gresham, after Artmazeing recently received an award from the Gresham Resource Efficiency Assistance to (GREAT) Business program for adding and following good sustainability practices.
"We primarily work with businesses based in commercial spaces, but we wanted to make this happen with Grant," said Gregg Hayward, GREAT program coordinator. "He is a very motivated kid, and we wanted to work with him."
When Grant first began Artmazeing last fall, he didn't know much about running a business. But he had help from his dad, Rob Hendrickson.
It's easy to find Grant during events. He wears a white T-shirt and hat with his logo, which he designed himself. The price for his drawings varies. He will charge between $2 and $5, leaving it up to the customer based on how pleased they are with the final result.
So far, he has saved more than $100 through Artmazeing and completed more than 50 drawings.
"He is learning a lot about the way the world works with this business," Rob said.
Grant, who has been drawing since he was 3, likes to imitate things with his work. He will see something and try to commit it to paper, which is what first moved him toward drawing caricatures of people. In one art class, he learned the most important aspect about capturing someone's true essence — focus on details and highlight those most unique.
"I want to be a business owner and an artist in the future," he said, "just not at the same time."
It was at the Gresham Arts Festival where Grant first became connected with the GREAT program and issued a challenge of making his business green.
GREAT will lay out a plan for local businesses, providing tips and suggestions for how owners can operate sustainably. The program did the same for Grant, giving him a checklist of tasks to complete, from water reduction, energy conservation, water conservation and stormwater pollution prevention.
Grant completed each task with flying colors with help from his family. Rob is a member of GREAT, and has his own award for his State Farm Insurance Agency in downtown Gresham that he accepted in 2016 with Grant at his side.
"I wanted to go green to help the Earth," Grant said. "Plus, getting an award gets more customers."
Grant labeled his garbage and recycling bins, while ensuring everyone in his home understood the best way to dispose of hazardous waste items such as fluorescent lights. He confirmed the business cards he uses are made with 80 percent recycled content, and signed up to receive energy-efficient lightbulbs and water devices for his home.
Not only did Grant install those efficient devices in his own home, he also visited two neighbors and gifted them LED bulbs of their own. He signed up for green power, installed faucet aerators and upgraded toilets to high-efficiency, dual-flush models.
Finally, Grant and his family installed about 20 storm drain markers around his neighborhood and recommitted to using green laundry soap and detergent.
"Don't throw trash down storm grates," Grant advised.
When he is out drawing at the events he uses 100 percent recycled paper, which he calls "Great White Shark" paper because of the logo on the packaging. If it's hot out, Grant puts a solar-powered electric fan on the bill of his hat.
"Another person helping the earth is great for the earth," Grant said. "I would be glad if everyone had a little green in them."
Grant has a metaphor he likes to use when talking about business. When a new venture begins it is like a seedling, he said. One path leads to a squirrel's stomach, while the other sprouts and grows into a giant oak.
He would love to see Artmazeing grow into a powerful oak, and avoid swimming in the "acid of a squirrel's stomach."
"Grant is very outgoing and confident — he just wants to go out and help people," Hayward said. "I hope he continues to be a force for good in the community."
And Grant has advice for other young business owners out there.
"I believe children with big dreams of making a business should put as much belief as you like into it," he said. "I'm not guaranteeing your business will succeed, but if you want to take the chance, I suggest you do."