Art Prize 2015

Art Prize has brought excitement and creativity to Grand Rapids that was much needed since it first started in 2009. The pieces that are presented at the numerous venues around town are thought provoking, entertaining, and sometimes confusing. There is so much to study and sometimes it is hard to understand the thought process behind the artists work.

Going through this year’s Art Prize was an exhilarating experience but was also a sad moment for a part of my family. For the last 2 years, my husbands grandmother has had entries in Art Prize. She had such a passion for her art and was already working on a piece for this year when she unexpectedly passed away. Seeing her work on her paintings and seeing how much pride she had when she showed her art to the people passing by was such a heartwarming sight. I hope that the other artists that submitted work have that same passion and sense of pride that she did.

grandma dean

The art that was displayed this year had good variety of mediums, sizes, and creative techniques. Some sculptures would catch my eye just when driving though town and some of the paintings were very realistic and emotion provoking. But there were also some pieces that did not strike any chords and left me wondering where the creativity was lost. I have listed three different pieces from Art Prize 2015 below with my personal thoughts and evaluations.

#1. MAYA 7624

Brittney Kowalczyk, 2015

Picture by: Brittney Kowalczyk, 2015

Choosing a piece that I thought was “most creative” was a difficult process. This may be because there is not one solid definition of CREATIVE that I could base this around. Recently we have discussed that creativity is something there to satisfy someone or give meaning to someone. That is what this piece did for me.

I loved the multi-layered wired mesh (I will refer to these as screens) and the detail that was quite obviously worked into this 3-D display. From this display, I think the layers of screens are to show that it can take a lot of different pieces to make up our lives. It shows how each layer can contribute to the total outcome of this piece and if missing one layer it could make the entire piece less enticing. This could be the same about our culture; Take one layer away and we may not have everything we need to be who we are.

The woman that is shown in this art shows so much emotion in her face and in the way she is holding her hands and it makes you really feel what she is feeling because it is so detailed. Whether the artist, Seung Mo Park, intended for this to be an emotional piece is unknown to me but I do know that this piece is original and does not follow the traditional methods used by other artists. Even the lighting that was used to emphasize the art made it feel more realistic and softer than a normal sculpting piece.

I also watched a few of his videos to see how he created this and the technique he uses is so unique and very specific. I would have placed this piece as one of the top entries this year due to the complexity and the originality.

#2. MicroDoodle Calder


This piece is interesting, fun and hands on which is why I liked it. I love the fact that you could look at it for hours and still see something different mixed in among all the doodles. But that’s just it; it’s doodles.

I love to doodle. I would say it is a hobby of mine, but are my doodles creative enough to be considered art? Maybe. This scavenger hunt of an entry was exciting to look at and I felt it was a long thought process to create such a multi-faceted piece but I felt there were other pieces (such as MAYA 7624) that may have been more creative.

This piece is up for interpretation since it has so much to look at which is what I believe the artist, Jeffery Gauss, wanted. I believe he wanted everyone to see something different and have a different perspective for why he created it. The message in this may be that there is much more to see if you just keep searching. This very well could have been a doodle to start with and ended up being his entry for Art Prize. Overall, not the most creative thing I saw around town but it was still enjoyable to search through.

#3. Orbs at Rest


This piece did not speak to me. This piece may have a form of creativity that appeals to others but personally I thought it was simple and not expressive. It did not come across as something that no one else could do or think of. I could picture my grandmother picking one of these out at a local craft show to put in her garden but that is about the extent of what I think this piece does.

When I started looking into what this was supposed to be I found out they were orbs and I originally thought they were supposed to be turtles. I normally can keep an open mind and see things in a different way but when I did it turned out to be an sea animal rather than an orb. There just seems to be something lacking in this piece. Even with the excitement of guessing what a piece might be, this one lost all interest after only a few seconds.

I keep trying to figure out where the inspiration came to create this. I know they may have seen an orb and tried to recreate it but it doesn’t seem that well thought out. When it comes to what it says about our culture I would say that it is simple and maybe we over think something as simple as a sphere or globe. A perfect example would be me looking at it trying to decide if it is actually supposed to be turtles. I also think this could be critiqued by our culture because in my eyes this is not considered art.

Art Prize had an amazing turnout this year and I would have posted a lot more of it if I could. Again, it was hard to limit this down to creativity since there is such a broad definition of what that is and everyone could see creativity differently. Looking at all the art and determining what the artist was trying to accomplish and whether or not they were using creative thought processes shed a new light on some of the art pieces I saw this year. Though there were some pieces that did not appeal to me specifically I still enjoyed looking at this years entries and figuring out what they were showing us about culture.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s