Jake Edwards’ love for art began at a young age. While he struggled with other subjects in school, art was always an area he excelled in. “When I was in second grade, my teacher referred me to an art teacher that gave private lessons,” said Jake. “My mom took me once a week, and I continued those lessons all the way until seventh grade.” Jake’s private art lessons introduced him to a wide spectrum of mostly drawing and painting, along with a handful of ceramics projects. “My mom has been a florist for years, and my dad was a photographer on the side, so I’ve always been around different forms of art. Both of my parents were very supportive.”
With a solid foundation and passion for the arts, Jake went on to earn his Art degree, and after graduating and moving to Brentwood in 2005, began teaching Art at Liberty High School. “I love it here. Liberty really supports the arts well,” said Jake. He also helped coach wrestling for 11 of the years he’s been at the school. “This school year I’m teaching Advanced 3D Design, Ceramics, and a PADA (Public Art and Design Academy) class.” Jake’s PADA students have helped him with some of his creations that can be seen around town, like the sculptures in front of the high school and at Sunset Park Athletic Complex.
About seven years ago Jake was introduced to a magic ingredient that helped take his sculptures to a new level. “A parent of one of the kids I coached showed me a type of epoxy I’d never seen before,” said Jake. “It allows me to bond anything together. I’m strong in ceramics, and I have a pretty good eye, so when I combined that with welding, I was able to bring new things to life.” A couple years later, after Jake stopped coaching wrestling, he began experimenting with making small dragonflies by mixing clay and other materials. Then in 2018, the larger-than-life creations emerged. “I took it to another level and made a giant six-foot dragonfly, and it ended up on display at Delta Gallery for six months.”
Since making his first oversized bug, Jake has gone on to create multiple more, getting creative with texture and components to make one-of-a-kind artwork. “On one of my grasshoppers I was able to combine clay with high fire to make the eyes reflective,” said Jake. “People think they’re metal, but they’re not. I use a knife to give things texture and have used things like a Honda muffler and other recycled pieces to create something unique.” Jake now has a collector of his pieces located in Placerville who has nine of his statues up on display around his property, and he has been contacted by several other art galleries about having his pieces in their showrooms. A gallery in Borrego Springs displayed Jake’s grasshoppers, and he has been asked back for a show in October. “I want to build a crazy praying mantis that would sit over the hood of my truck to take down to Borrego and then bring a bunch of other ones as well.”
Jake can also currently be found at Delta Gallery in the Streets of Brentwood until the end of July, in the Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery from June 5 until the end of the month where the rainbow grasshopper will be on display, and as the featured artist in the Blackhawk Gallery until July 3. “I think the rainbow grasshopper is my favorite one I’ve ever built,” said Jake. “It has muffler pipes for the legs. This is my passion; I’d love to be a well-known artist one day.”
Make sure to stop by Delta Gallery, 2485 Sand Creek Road, Suite 128, to see Jake’s incredible creatures. “I like to bring my tools and work out in front of the gallery, like live art,” said Jake. “I brought in 100 people in a day last time.” You won’t want to miss it!
By: Michelle Lassle Photos by: Ron Essex Photography