GRAND RAPIDS — Autumn is just around the corner, and so is ArtPrize.
The annual contest returns to West Michigan starting Wednesday through Oct. 6. During that time frame, three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids will be bursting at the seams with unique achievements both inspiring and challenging as artists offer up some of their most prized work for the community to judge.
A total of 1,524 entries have been submitted this year. Here’s a look at nine local artists and their presentations:
Background: Catherine Behnke owns a photography studio in downtown Greenville. She loves taking pictures of babies and children, as well as collecting couches.
Quote: “I see things in pictures. I love the feeling of capturing priceless moments for people to cherish forever.”
Title of ArtPrize entry: “Engine 3”
Description: “Engine Company #3 first put into service in February of 1850 as Wolverine Fire Company #3. It was decommissioned in January 2013 due to budget constraints. Up until it was decommissioned it was the longest serving Engine Company in the City of Grand Rapids Fire Department. Pictured is Engine 3 “B” shift from the last year it was in service: Lt. Jack Johnson Equipment Operator James McIntyre and Firefighter Ryan Sparks.”
Displayed at: West Coast Coffee, 55 Monroe Center NW
Background: James Brown is an instructor at Montcalm Community College, as well as a bassist in a blues/rockabilly band and a violinist in the Kent Philharmonica Orchestra.
Quote: “Inspiration for (this year’s) entry comes in part as an upright bass player in a rockabilly band.”
Title of ArtPrize entry: “Breaking Free of Cubism”
Description: “My work … is a metal sculpture which depicts a bass player. We often find that the art we are currently exposed to and is contemporary to our time is somehow set. The impressionists were ridiculed because it did not conform to contemporary, accepted form. This form broke from tradition and was later hailed for its quality. Cubism found the same fate. I am creating this in metal which give the appearance of permanence yet the piece is distorted as components of the art break out of the frame. Areas such as the scroll of the bass and others areas are shaped outside of the square frame and the frame is ‘torn’ as the form breaks out. Waves depict sound which move against square forms yet unaffected. Components of oil paint may be added for depth as shown in an earlier completed work.”
Displayed at: Calder Plaza Building, 250 Monroe Ave. NW
Background: Jenny Dood is a self-taught artists who has been painting and drawing most of her life. She also loves photography, which influences her painting. She grew up in Grand Rapids, but she and her husband moved north, where they are raising four children.
Quote: “I am very blessed to have been given the talent and love of art.”
Title of ArtPrize entry: “Face to Face”
Medium: Acrylic on canvas.
Description: “I came up with the idea to paint a large polar bear swimming underwater last fall. I was so excited to get started. So we packed up the kids and headed down to Chicago. I was determined to get a picture of polar bears swimming as my boys watched in awe. So we got to the zoo just as it was opening, knowing the animals are usually more active in the morning. We ran to the polar bear exhibit just to find an already sleeping bear, drying his wet coat in the sun! We went back a couple times through out the day, but never got that picture of the big guy swimming. Which is why painting is so great, I can create a picture on canvas that I may never see live. I did get some great photos of a sleeping polar bear though.”
Displayed at: Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, 100 Michigan NE
Hometown: Howard City
Background: Brian Duey is a professional artist who works in a variety of traditional media with a focus on graphite pencil drawings. He has done commission work for clients worldwide, including celebrities and professional athletes.
Quote: “My artistic journey will be a lifelong thing and I am enjoying the ride.”
Title of ArtPrize entry: “Portrait of Victoria”
Description: “This is a portrait pencil drawing on tinted paper in graphite and white colored pencil.”
Displayed at: JW Marriott Grand Rapids Hotel, 235 Louis St. NW
Hometown: Sand Lake
Background: David Huang has a bachelor of fine arts degree magna cum laude from Grand Valley State University.
Quote: “Like my other vessels, this piece is about the natural, sensual world, skilled labor, timeless beauty and the inner spirit made visible.”
Title of ArtPrize entry: “Luminous Relic 1168”
Medium: Copper, sterling silver and karat gold leaf.
Description: “This piece began as a flat 12 inch disk of copper and through much hammering has been formed into the work you see. The rim is polished sterling silver and the interior is gilded with 23-karat gold leaf.”
Displayed at: Women’s City Club, 254 E. Fulton St.
Background: Eston King’s background is in commercial art, but he has been painting all his life.
Quote: I will be 78 years old this (past) June and am a lifelong resident of the Belding/Greenville area.”
Title of ArtPrize entry: “Sandcastle”
Medium: Acrylic on recycled paper and fabric.
Description: “It depicts a Lake Michigan beach with seagulls and a hot air balloon on the horizon.”
Displayed at: Grand Rapids Pizza and Delivery, 340 State St. SE
Hometown: Howard City
Background: Darryl Love has been drawing since he was a child. As a teenager, he mentored with a tattoo artist. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago and Kendall College.
Quote: “My imagination has inspired everything, especially, watching all kinds of movies, surrealism, comics, graffiti art and a general interest in all things strange and bizarre. The style is molded from all the projects that Rob Zombie has been involved in, Salvador Dali, Bosch, Joel Peter Witkin and old Insane Asylums. Occasionally, an emotionally charged deeper meaning to the artwork entails. Sometimes it’s personal to reach people and other times it’s anything imaginable. It’s fun, exciting, and a great escape.”
Title of ArtPrize entry: “The Rorschach”
Medium: Oils on canvas.
Description: “This is my version of The Rorschach — it is an ink blot test where people express what they see in it. You can see whatever you want. There is a two-page essay titled ‘Rorschach: The Black and The White’ As a whole they balance each other out quite well like a yin-yang, You’ll have to read both. The essays are about the fire in your soul, rising from the ashes, finding inner peace, and giving hope while describing things I see in the Rorschach. It is real, deep, personal and it has soul. This project is taking my art to a new level with my love of asylums and making it realer. I was my own psychiatrist and mental patient by giving myself the Rorschach test and responding to it. It was meant to inspire in so many ways. The purpose of this project is to get others to care.”
Displayed at: The B.O.B., 20 Monroe Ave. NW
Hometown: Sand Lake
Background: Carol McCarthy is a mother of four and grandmother of two with one on the way. She works in sales and party/event management and can often be found facilitating Bible studies or teaching classes on a variety of topics.
Quote: “My artistic creations are usually sewn — quilts, fabric crafts, wall hangings. But I also love the written word and devote equal time to drafting articles, composing letters or blogging. Spending time with my family is my favorite way to spend my non-working hours.”
Title of ArtPrize entry: “Connected” (group entry)
Description: “‘Connected’ is a unique exhibit that explores artistic creations by group of hand-selected artists and writers. The Ambassadors of Connected have invited a group of individuals to share their life experiences. These ‘teams’ (artists and storytellers) will be randomly paired and assigned an inspirational word. The task of the newly formed team (artist/storyteller) is to meet and share life experiences, discuss the team word and come to an agreement as to a visual image and a written statement that each member will produce to represent the team’s word.”
Displayed at: Harris Building, 111 S. Division
Background: Lisa Spielmaker is a graduate of Grand Rapids Community College with a focus on art and art history. She has two pieces of art that are part of GRCC’s permanent collection.
Quote: “I enjoy all forms of art and appreciate all forms of creation. Art in all forms is a thing of beauty. I strive to bring that realistic natural beauty into my art. Art is like an eloquent language that everyone can understand and appreciate. It brings everyone together without words and can have a profound impact on society.”
Title of ArtPrize entry: untitled
Description: “My entry is a work in progress. This is a rough sketch of my painting. I am painting a landscape. I love to see different things in nature. Sometimes things are not as they appear. It is up to your own individual perception to choose what you want to see.”
Displayed at: Bistro Bella Vita, 44 Grandville SW