For his day job, Dexter Larimore uses his hands to disengage from opposing offensive linemen in an attempt to wrestle the ballcarrier to the ground.
At night – or more accurately, during the off-season – those same hands are used to sculpt works of art. The Ohio State defensive lineman, who began sculpting when he was in high school and working in his mother’s ceramics studio, has been honored by the NCAA for his sculpting work.
An art show will be held Jan. 13-17 at the Convention in Washington, D.C., and one of Larimore’s pieces of artwork will be on display. In addition, Larimore will be featured in the NCAA’s Champion magazine during winter quarter.
“I think it’s great,” Larimore said of his honor. “I think it’s really nice because it’s inspired me to do a little bit more. Before this, I was doing it as a hobby. Now it’s like, ‘Man, I could really do this.’ ”
While Larimore was attending high school at Merrillville, Ind., his thought was that if football took him to the NFL that perhaps he could start his own studio. Now, this batch of success has encouraged the 6-2, 300-pound Larimore to consider making artwork as a professional in the future.
“It’s inspired me to say, ‘Maybe I can do this. Maybe people will like my art and will appreciate my stuff enough to be able to do it as a job.”
A finance major, Larimore said he does not have a lot of time to hone his craft – especially during football season. The piece of artwork he is being honored for was created before the 2008 season began and took him a little more than a week to complete.
The award show will feature pieces of art from 20 student-athletes from across the country.
The inspiration for this piece came from a conversation during a ceramics class, Larimore said. Whenever his schedule permits, Larimore will take ceramics courses as electives at OSU.
“It’s kind of my favorite piece,” he said. “It’s the kind of piece I have in my room. It goes with my room and the colors. It was just something I saw and envisioned a couple of shapes and made it. It’s been a nice piece for me and my room.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, the piece has a scarlet-and-gray appearance.
Larimore said his teammates are largely unaware of his passion for art.
“I think initially everybody’s like, ‘What? What are you talking about? Why would you do that?’ ” Larimore said. “Then when they see some of my pieces and some of the stuff I do and how I think about it, I think they’ll appreciate it.”
Head coach Jim Tressel is aware, however. When Tressel was recruiting Larimore, he came to visit the prep prospect while at school. The OSU head man arrived and Larimore was in a ceramics class at the time.
Before he was finished in high school, Larimore and a friend combined to create a seven-foot pirate sculpture depicting the school’s mascot. The process took nearly two years to complete.
Now, Larimore said he is constantly working on new projects and ideas. While watching TV with friends, he will get out some clay and begin toying with it. Larimore is roommates with fellow Buckeyes Jim Cordle and Aram Olson, and he said he tries not to make too much of a mess of their apartment.
“Some people I think I’m weird because if I’m making a head or something I’ll stare at somebody for 10 minutes to get the form down right,” he said. “Then in my head I decide what I can do as far as colors.
“I get an idea out of something. I’ll be inspired by something and my friends say, ‘Hey, maybe you should make this.’ I start making stuff and when it starts looking good, then I’m finished when I’m finished.”