Exchange student creates futuristic art

Published 4:17 pm Monday, April 16, 2012

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

When I learned that Luc (Lucian) Grote, the Pelham High School German exchange student living with the Dennis Wilson family in Helena particularly enjoys art class with Mrs. Kim Harrison, I was curious to know more. With a smile and in his charmingly accented English, a second language that he speaks with seeming ease, Luc first showed me a thick notebook of sketches that included anime/manga characters that he creates ongoing stories about, as well as color renditions of fantasy islands and futuristic cityscapes.

The fantasy cities that Luc Grote imagines are comprised of different cultural and architectural elements. (Contributed)

“I like to draw with the pencil because it is the fastest way to transcribe my fantasy to the paper,” Luc said. “Other media, like watercolor, take a lot of preparation. So whenever I have an idea, I draw it.”

His fantasy world is a mix of the fantasy movies, animes and mangas, and books he has watched and read. Around age 10, he began to play an invisible fantasy game with his younger sister, Larina.

Then, he began to draw maps and then cities of that fantasy world.

After achieving some skill with those, he began to add people, but found realistic renderings too slow. He learned from Youtube how to draw manga figures.

“Recently I decided to write my own manga story. I have a full thought-up story, but the relationships and characteristics, the skill to draw faces without erasing still lack in me. I have drawn the first three pages and hope to finish it someday.”

Luc also showed me buildings he draws, then assembles into 3-D structures. My thought was that with this kind of skill and perception, he might be a budding architect.

Luc says he has two more years at his German school and has not felt pressured to make career decisions, but knows he will choose something creative.

Christi Wilson shared the experience of the Grote family’s recent visit to Alabama.

Harald, Maren and Larina Grote were welcomed with Christi’s southern dinner of country fried steak, cornbread, black-eyed peas, fried okra and apple pie.

Laura Brookhart can be reached by email at