Grainger McKoy was born in 1947 in Wilmington, North Carolina and grew up in a log cabin his parents built with his two brothers. He grew up watching his father carve notches in old cedar posts and learning about wood. His grandmother gave him his first decoy when he was just a boy. His father died when he was just a teenager but their mother was their muse. When one of his brothers expressed an interest in animals, she got him a horse; now he’s a vet. The other brother liked to grow things, so he got a tractor; he’s now a successful farmer of tomatoes. When Grainger told her he wanted to carve a piece of wood to make it look like a bird, she held him up by his belt loops and he sawed off a piece of their cabin.
He left for college he attended Clemson University in South Carolina pursing a bachelor’s degree in architecture that quickly turned into a biology degree. Since then he has loved to try to capture the flight of birds in his artwork.
For two years in the early 1970s he worked under Gilbert Maggioni, of Beaufort, South Carolina, who “inoculated [him] against mediocrity while at the same time encouraging innovation and preaching there is no substitute for hard work.”
He only carves what he knows and when he carves, he does not accept suggestions to what the subject of the sculptor should be. He is also very adamant about not carving loons.
He moved on from wood carving when he learned how to mold bronze and gold into shapes and now works in wood, steel, bronze, sterling silver, gold and platinum making sculptures and fine jewelry. He lives with his wife, Floride, in Statesburg, South Carolina.