Kingsport artist breathes life into Streamworks trailer

Matthew Lane • Updated Sep 18, 2017 at 2:21 PM

KINGSPORT — Alex Glymp just wants to paint. It doesn’t matter if it’s the wall of a downtown business, a blank canvas in a studio or someone’s pair of used sneakers. Anything he can put paint on is fine by him.

Glymp, a 22-year-old Kingsport native and Dobyns-Bennett High School graduate, recently spent two weeks painting a trailer parked outside the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce. But it wasn’t just a simple paint job.

The work involved transforming a plain blue, 24-foot-long cargo trailer into a work of art.

“I saw a bunch of murals being painted downtown and wanted to join in,” Alex explained.

Bonnie Macdonald, the director of the city’s cultural arts department, took his name and number and said she would be in touch if anything came up.

“She messaged me about (the trailer) and here I am,” he said.

The trailer in question is owned by Streamworks — a Kingsport-based, nonprofit organization, funded through the Eastman Foundation, that goes into local schools to teach kids about science, technology, engineering and math.

Dennis Courtney, the executive director of Streamworks, said he does so by using robots, drones and Legos, or just about anything else to blend technology and competition with an educational theme.

“Once I found out it was for the kids and the community, I jumped on it immediately,” Alex said. “I thought it was something that would be a great opportunity in the long haul.”

After two weeks of work and following the general specifications laid out by Courtney, Alex transformed the plain blue trailer into a Streamworks icon, complete with the mascot Professor Photon, chemical bubbles, a robot and blueprint, a drone and the old electricity-generating potato experiment.

Not only is it presentable for business, but the trailer now has plenty of eye appeal.

“I love it,” Alex's mother, Rebecca, said. “It took a lot of work and it came out very well.”

Alex started out drawing when he was younger, but he never painted all that much. When he was a junior in high school, he doodled on a pair of shoes and a bunch of kids thought it was cool, so he started painting shoes for his classmates.

That was seven years ago and he’s been painting ever since.

“Anything I can put paint on, I’ll paint it,” Alex said. “Canvas, walls, trailers, shoes or hats.”

Alex said he was thankful for the opportunity to give back to kids and he hopes Kingsport can flourish into more of an artistic town.

“I’m proud of being the person who did this. If I could get another opportunity like this again, get a chance to paint in general, I’m more than glad to jump on the opportunity,” he said.