Mark DeGraffenried: Mormon Artist
James Mark DeGraffenried is an award-winning sculptor and painter. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
DeGraffenried attended high school in Alaska and won statewide acclaim for his sculpture “Regret.” He continued to win purchase awards and “Best of Show” awards for his work while attending college.
He earned his associate’s degree from Brigham Young University-Idaho, and studied composition and design at Brigham Young University-Hawaii with sculptor Jan Fisher and painter LaMoyne Garside. He received a bachelor’s degree with honors from Utah State University in 1993. In 1995, he studied bronze casting and finish patina with NH Studios. In 1996 and 1997, he taught portrait and life-drawing classes at Alliance for the Varied Arts in Logan, Utah. His knowledge of the sculpting process is extensive, from the creation in clay and wax casting process, to the final bronze and patina work.
He created the statue of Marriner S. Eccles that was placed on the grounds of the Utah State Capitol in 2014, with a second smaller statue housed in the lobby of the Federal Reserve Board building in Washington, D.C. One of his largest projects, “The Crossing,” entailed an edition of four life-size bronzes of an emigrant family that were placed in prominent locations in England and Salt Lake City. He and artist Dan Cummings created “Ice Spirit,” which is dedicated to the volunteers of the XIX Olympic Games and was dedicated and installed in the City Creek Center in Salt Lake City in 2012.
DeGraffenried also created a memorial for the Utah State University agriculture professor and his eight students who were killed in a crash in 2005. The sculptor often allows the families to help him physically craft the memorials, a practice he learned from his father who was a bricklayer. For example, DeGraffenried let a young widow smooth the wedding band he sculpted on her husband’s hand.
DeGraffenried is a member of the Alliance for the Varied Arts, and the National Sculpture Society. His work includes many limited editions, portrait busts, medallions and other figurative work. He and his wife, RaeLynn, live in Clarkston, Utah, and are the parents of five children.