A Brief Biography
Vernon Simeon Plemion Grant was born on April 26, 1902 in Coleridge, Nebraska and spent most of his early childhood living on a homestead in South Dakota. While living in the rural countryside with very little to do, Vernon started making his own toys and figurines out of clay from the river bank. Those early figurines inspired his iconic gnomes who were often depicted wearing oversized clothes and shoes, similar to how he dressed as a young boy.
In 1915, the Grant family moved to Wasco, a small farming community in Southern California. Vernon graduated high school and enrolled at the University of Southern California. When not in class, he performed “chalk talk” acts, where he would tell stories while simultaneously creating art for the audience. Some of his earliest commercial art clients were Southern Pacific Railroad, Wrigley’s Chewing Gum, and Los Angeles Recreation Department.
Vernon’s gnomes would not become synonymous with his work until 1933 when he worked with Kellogg’s Rice Krispies ® to create the cereal’s mascots – three fun loving gnomes named Snap ®, Crackle ® and Pop®. His time with Kellogg’s lead to Rice Krispies® having the largest advertising campaign of its time that was marketed directly towards children. In addition to his work with Kellogg’s ®, Vernon was commissioned to create magazine covers and interior illustrations for a number of magazines including Collier’s, Judge, Saturday Home Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal, along with a number of advertisements for other companies.
Lowenstein Building Vernon Grant Commemorative Exhibit
Drop by the Lowenstein Building on White Street in Rock Hill to enjoy the new Vernon Grant Commemorative Exhibit. Supported by a grant from the Women’s Art Initiative, the exhibit commemorates the life and career of renowned American illustrator and longtime Rock Hill resident, Vernon Grant. The exhibit highlights Grant’s professional career as an illustrator and commercial artist from the 1920s through 1970s. His artistic legacy and civic contributions are also represented by framed reproduction prints.
Comprised of reproductions of artworks from Culture & Heritages Museums’ collection, the display features old favorites, including the inspiration for the Come-See-Me Festival, Grant’s ChristmasVille stylized Santa, and unreleased artwork.