Serving the Tarrant County College District

The Collegian

Serving the Tarrant County College District

The Collegian

Serving the Tarrant County College District

The Collegian

Rock Solid Art

NE student creates interactive scavenger hunt
Justin Thyme has painted multiple rocks and hidden them. each rock has a unique design and QR code on the back linking to the @rockhound instagram.

Justin Thyme started painting rocks for a class assignment. He earned an A, but felt that his project was too impactful to stop there.

Now, Thyme continues to paint rocks and hides them across NE campus for students to engage in a scavenger hunt. The NE student posts new rocks ready to be found on his Instagram, Rock Hound, a couple of times a week to inform students of when they can begin they’re search, he said.

Thyme thought of the idea from his past experience of living in Colorado Springs. Painting and hiding rocks was a big deal there, and he was disappointed that people didn’t seem to participate in Texas, he said.

The visual art student didn’t know what to expect when he began placing rocks in the nooks and crannies of campus, but to his surprise, students were participating. By week two, students were really getting into it, he said.

“As soon as I was posting, they were out hunting for them,” he said.

Thyme stays on the lookout for smooth, paintable rocks while he goes on walks outside of campus. When he sees one, he picks it up and puts it in his bag.

The painting process is simple, he said. Thyme primes all of his rocks so the paint will stick better, and he uses a bit of white to make designs pop.

From galaxy rocks to ones with cartoon characters on them, he does his best to paint things he thinks students will enjoy.

When students post that they’ve found a rock, some mention wanting to start painting their own, and that excites Thyme. “Please start painting rocks,” he said. “Cover the campus with art.”

As a result, he’s considering posting YouTube tutorials for students who’d like to start their own projects.

The NE student was a massage therapist before enrolling at TCC to pursue art. Thyme has always loved art, but whenever he was first attending school twenty years ago, pursuing art wasn’t as encouraged, he said.

It took Thyme his first semester at TCC to gain confidence in his abilities, but now he knows that it’s just about affirming oneself.

“You’ve got to tell yourself, ‘I’m an artist, so I can call myself an artist and act as one confidently,” he said.

He also finds support from the LGBTQIA community.

“I love to represent my community when possible, and the community has given me the inspiration and motivation to become an artist,” Thyme said.

For Thyme, the rock scavenger hunt is about creating fun for students.

“There’s a lot going on domestically and overseas, and it’s really easy to lose sight of joy,” he said.

So any chance you get, infuse joy into the lives of others, Thyme said.

“You absolutely have to do it right now,” he said. “It’s like our obligation, or things just get worse.”

The rock scavenger hunt may be a perk for students coming to campus. Instead of wandering from class to class, it’s like a side quest, Thyme said.

“And who doesn’t like a side quest,” he said with a smile.

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