The enormous popularity of award-winning artist Jim Shore is the result of a lifetime of dedication, inspiration and plain old hard work. And as with most successful people, some good fortune has played a part. As Jim puts it, ""Art is something I've done all my life. It's what I've always loved and the only thing I ever wanted to do. But making a living as an artist isn't easy. There are thousands of talented people out there that never got the chance to show what they can do. I've been lucky. Not only do I get to do what I love, I get to share it with people around the world. I've been given a tremendous gift and I thank God for it every day."" Jim Shore grew up in rural South Carolina, the son of artistic parents who instilled a love of the traditional imagery of American folk art. His grandmother was a master quilter who taught him an appreciation for the patience and skill required to bring intricate designs to life. Jim drew inspiration from these roots. ""There's an innocence, a purity in the designs found in early American art, particularly in quilts. These were masterpieces designed by artists driven to create. I collect quilts dating back over 150 years and when I look at the level of skill and creativity I am constantly amazed. It's high art from everyday, often humble surroundings."" Initially Jim pursued his art where and when he could. He studied engineering and received a degree in business, not art. He supported his young family as an engineer, honing his skills as a sculptor and painter in his spare time.