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LMC professor creates artwork for Ripley’s Believe it or Not

By John Lucas

Article Published: Sep. 12, 2013 | Modified: Sep. 12, 2013

Jason Sabbides, assistant professor of communication arts and design at Lees-McRae College, has been commissioned to create two original artworks for Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Gatlinburg, Tenn. The opening date is Sept. 15.

The murals are trompe l’oeil pieces, which are 3-D chalk drawings on sidewalks, Sabbides said, adding, “They are 2-D murals but highly illusionistic, conveying a 3-D world. One is for the main museum, and the other is for the haunted house.”

According to Sabbides, Ripley’s plans to digitize the five-foot-tall murals and turn them into stickers for placement in the museum’s galleries worldwide.

Sabbides is a new face on the Lees-McRae campus, having joined the Banner Elk college’s Division of Creative and Fine Arts in August. Professional experience, such as commissioned pieces, is what Sabbides is most excited to teach his classes. He often tells his students how important it is to bring the real world into the classroom and help them prepare for art outside of school.

Sabbides is originally from Springfield, Mass., and currently lives in Johnson City, Tenn. A U.S. Army veteran of six years, Sabbides started his professional career in 2004 after returning to civilian life.
He earned his bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and his master of fine arts degree from East Tennessee State University.

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