GRAND RAPIDS — Two local artists will be competing in what is billed as “the world’s largest art competition.”
Ken Crouse of Carson City and John Pung of Pewamo will participate in ArtPrize, which will take place Sept. 19-Oct. 7 in Grand Rapids. The event features 1,517 entries at 161 venues this year.
For complete details about ArtPrize, visit artprize.org online.
“Father, Son, Spirit”
Crouse has been creating art since he was a child. He enjoys working with a variety of mediums and has been making and selling cariactures at weekend arts and crafts shows for the past 20 years.
Crouse graduated from Carson City-Crystal High School in 1979, attended Kendall School of Design from 1981 to 1982 and graduated from Grace College with a bachelor’s degree in art in 1987. He taught K-12 art at Waukegan Christian School in Illinois from 1988 to 1991 and is currently co-owner of Crouse Tax Service in Carson City.
He is married to Mindy and they have six children, Paul, Luke, Mary, Rosie, Torie and Simon.
Crouse created “Father, Son, Spirit,” a large sculpture, last year for Trinity Church in Stanton, where he attends.
“Since the name of our church is Trinity, I decided to make a piece about the Trinity, a mysterious teaching from the Bible that there is one God, but he is three beings, each one separate, yet unified, unique, yet the same,” Crouse said.
“The main building material I used in this sculpture is extruded styrofoam,” he said. “It comes in 4-by-8-inch sheets, which I cut up and glued together. I grind and sand it into the shapes I want. For a smooth surface, like the hands, I apply drywall compound over the styrofoam and sand it. It is painted with latex paint.”
Crouse’s creation will be displayed at First Congregational Church at 10 E. Park Place NE in Grand Rapids during ArtPrize.
Pung began making welded metal sculptures while in high school in the mid-1970s. He later took welding classes at Lansing Community College. Pung’s works are on display at Lansing Community College and he also made and donated a life-size crucifix to his church in Pewamo.
“For inspiration, I go to local scrap yards and search for objects that can be used in my sculptures,” he said. “I only use found and recycled objects. I have always been fascinated by machinery and I look for machinery-type objects that sculptures can be made from.”
For ArtPrize, Pung was inspired to create a larger version of the smaller motorcycles he’d been welding for years. He began working on the project in January and completed it two months later after working 10-to-12-hour days.
Pung searched for a “huge” rear wheel and found it via a scrap semi tire and rim. He made the frame for the project using sprinkler line pipe. An old electric motor served as his crankcase. The motorcycle’s handlebars are made from trampoline supports, the brake levers are an old set of channel locks, the rear tail light is a former iron and the head light is an old heater.
“The motorcycle even comes with a battery made from discarded pipe fittings,” Pung said.
After the motorcycle was completed, Pung created a skeleton, using trailer balls for arm and leg sockets and rod for fingers and heating and pounding the skull by hand.
“I wanted it detailed, so I ordered a skeleton diagram from a doctor’s office supply,” Pung said.
Pung’s creation will be displayed at Downtown Courtyard by Marriott at 11 Monroe Ave. in Grand Rapids during ArtPrize.