When it comes to the arts, Marcus West is a jack of all trades.
West, 39, teaches art at Threadgill Elementary School. In his spare time, he also runs side businesses in photography and woodworking.
As a child, West drew different cartoon characters to practice his art. It wasn’t until he was in Greenwood High School, when he had Warren Jennings as his art teacher, that he developed an interest in teaching art as a career.
West said Jennings was “very passionate about his work” and “very friendly with his students.”
“I admired him and how he conducted his class,” West said. “It gave me the thought of becoming an art teacher.”
After West graduated from high school in 1998, he spent two years at Mississippi Delta Community College, knocking out his general education requirements.
He then enrolled at Mississippi Valley State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in visual communications.
West’s first teaching job was at Bankston Elementary, where he taught for one year. Since then, he’s been teaching at Threadgill.
He said he enjoys exposing students to new potential careers: “If they don’t want to be a lawyer, a doctor, I give them another avenue to be creative as a career choice.”
When he isn’t teaching, he’s either shooting various portraits, such as family photos or graduation photos, or creating wooden door signs, welcome signs and wall pieces in his backyard.
He most enjoys graphic design. “The world is moving toward more technology,” he said. “That gives me a greater base where I’ve been using it with my photography as well.”
An artist he follows is D’Artagnan Winford, a portrait photographer in central Mississippi.
To young people interested in careers in art, West said they need to find what they like and stick with it: “Give it your all.”
West is married to Dawn Stamps-West, principal of Threadgill Primary. They have three children.
•Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.