Sunday, October 30, 2016

Julie's Favorite Art

Hi there! It's Julie here this time to share 8 of my favorite entries from ArtPrize 8.

The artist estimates 1,800 hours of cutting, pounding, welding, grinding, and polishing went into this 5 1/2 foot tall bison. 5000 feet of copper wire were used for his hair, and each hair was individually welded and styled. His Native American decorations are symbols of the Iroquois' "Great Law of Peace," the oral constitution that bound together the 6 nations of the Iroquois. When Mom saw (and petted) this big guy in person, it was getting dark out, and his hair was glinting gently in the landscaping lights. I think he's awesome. <3

Normally I'm not a huge fan of black and white photos, but I made an exception for this one. What a perfect shot of this bridge! With this perspective and the dramatic zig zag lines of the beams, it looks like it could be a portal to another dimension.

Bright Maples
Big deal, a forest painting, you may be thinking. At first glance, that's what I thought too. But it's not a painting at all - it's textile and thread. The tree trunks are layered, hand stitched, hand-dyed silk, and the leaves are made up of tons of tiny french knots. Truly a masterpiece!

The Fire Cycle
Here's another gorgeous textile piece. This one was created using yarn and felt on canvas. Much of the background is made from tiny circles of felt punched with a hole punch, each one hand glued. It depicts animals fleeing the Duck Lake fire of 2012, a forest fire that burned over 21,000 acres in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I love the texture on this, especially the shaggy moose in the foreground, but all the animals are beautifully done. Hopefully they made it to safety!

This unorthodox rug is one piece that both the art critics and I appreciated, which rarely happens! It looks like the rug is turning to liquid or gel and oozing outward, and it's really cool what this does to the rug's design. The order-loving side of me is pleased that the artist still made sure to keep it symmetrical. 

The Pier to Everywhere
This is one of my all-time favorite paintings. Not only is it incredibly detailed, but the artist has merged reality (a Lake Michigan pier) with unreality seamlessly. I love the dream-like, magical way the pier, starry sky, and water meld into each other. Mom saw this painting twice during ArtPrize: once near the beginning and then again on the last day of ArtPrize, when two guys were carrying it unceremoniously across a parking lot to their car.

Pinnacle is another Lake Michigan scene, this time from the perspective of a scenic overlook. It's made up of many layers of glass that have been assembled so that they overlap, which gives it a unique 3D effect. To give each layer of glass its amazing texture, the artist crushes glass, manipulates it with a torch, cuts it, layers it, and fuses it together. Her other method, presumably to create stuff like pine needles and grass, is to heat glass until it's molten in a kiln, then pull it into long strands. The end result of all this meticulous work sure is impressive! 

Imagine If
I know Lily already showed you a photo of this one earlier, but I thought I'd post two more photos of it (these two taken by Mom herself) because it was my favorite entry from this year. These four winged horses are made from small, silvery, reflective pieces dangling from the ceiling on clear strings. The artist has entered similar works in past years, including other mythical equines, a dragon, a griffin, and a tree with a quadrant representing each season. They've often ranked highly in the public vote but have never won any prizes. I'm glad the artist keeps entering anyway! The only thing I'd change would be to give these guys long, flowing tails instead of little nubs. XD

Thanks for reading! Felicity will round out these ArtPrize posts with her favorites soon. She also has some HI2 news, but I will leave that for her to share. =^)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bethany's Favorite Art

Ready or not, here come my (Bethany's) favorite ArtPrize 8 entries!

Lake Superior Rocks III
This is a watercolor painting, not a photo! You sure could've fooled me, as real as the rocks look and the way the artist has captured the faint reflections of the ripples. I wonder what Lake Superior Rocks I and II look like?

4 different types of wood (flame birch, walnut, birdseye maple, and cherry) were cut and laminated into each other to create this piece. No computers or lasers were used,  just standard woodworking equipment. They look so beautiful displayed together! My favorite detail: the tiny, artistically placed circles.

Spirit of the Night
The nighttime color palette going on in this painting adds a mystical feeling to the tranquil scene. I wonder what's making it glow over on the right side?

These giants ("CHAIRMen") are made entirely of chairs and chair parts! The chairs used come from all over the world. Here's part of the statement from the artist that helps explain what they are all about: 
We are all broken at one time or another and we need that helping hand to put the pieces back together. And that's what the soldiers of "Victory" are doing. Helping one another. To reassemble, to resurrect, to celebrate life. 

and on her horse she flies
The horse and rider were created by layering various fabrics, which were then colored by layer after layer of colored pencil. Finally, they were fused to a painted canvas background. I think it turned out beautifully, and as far as I'm concerned the artist couldn't have picked better subject matter. I do kind of wish we could see all of the horse's hind legs, though.

This piece is a wall of hearts: a collage of 150 8"x8" photos mounted on wood blocks. All the "hearts" were serendipitously found in nature. So I'm not the only one who notices and appreciates stuff like this!

Folding Prince Charming
Ever hear of the Japanese myth that if you fold 1,000 paper cranes, your wish will be granted? This artist morphed that idea with the fairy tale of The Frog Prince. She ended up folding 2,106 origami frogs (since it's ArtPrize 2016), kissed each one, and installed them into this elaborate pattern. Her wish: that her younger sister, who has apparently been unlucky in love, will find her prince charming. Aw! <3

Kinetic Sculpture #822

Okay, if this artist has really made 822 sculptures, whoa! He's been busy. (Far too busy to come up with creative titles. ;)) Watch the video to see it in action - the sculpture's a lot more fun than the title suggests. It reminds me of those tower things kids set up to make winding slides for marbles.

There you have them! I hope you enjoyed! Up next: Julie's favorites.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Lily's Favorite Art

As promised, my sisters and I have been getting to work choosing our favorite ArtPrize entries. Because 2016 was ArtPrize's eighth year, we've each decided to write a separate post about 8 of our favorites. Since it's my birthday today (yay, a Saturday birthday!) I have decided to go first. You can click on any of the images to see them larger. 

Make A Wish
Wow, just look at this color and texture! The artist dripped layer after layer of house paint on canvas to create this masterpiece.

Birth of an Idea
Tons of small strips of paper were rolled, shaped, and glued together to form this beautiful mandala design. (This artistic method is called "paper quilling.") I really appreciate the symbolism here. Need I say more?

While "Urn-E" sort of makes sense as a name, since it's shaped like big urn, I think I'd have picked a more feminine name. There is something very elegant about it, and I love the contrast of the silver flowers against the rust.

Good As Gold
A Michigan native snapped this photo on the shores of Lake Michigan: a crashing wave frozen in time, reflecting a brilliant sunset sky. When Mom saw the full-size print in person, the proud photographer was there talking about it. It was apparently a very cold day when this was taken, and he got wet in the process. So worth it, though! 

Mirror of Heaven
This painting depicts a little slice of what you might see if you look into the waters of a deep, crystal clear spring in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Native Americans gave the spring its name, Kitch-iti-kipi, which translates into "Mirror of Heaven" in English.

The blue owl on the left and also a red-toned owl (not picture here) were already finished and hanging on the wall when ArtPrize began. A third owl painting was also created during ArtPrize itself - a collaborative effort of the artist and ArtPrize-goers. Mom didn't contribute any strokes to it, as the artist wasn't there when she went to see them. At that point (only a few days into the competition) it just looked like a mess of pattern and color - she couldn't tell it would eventually become an owl. All the random texture ends up adding something really cool to the final product, though. Hoot took 3rd place in the Time-Based category. I sure wish it had won instead of that boring Sweeper's Clock!

Cherry Waltz
Now this is an end table! The artist says a twirling dress was his inspiration for the design. Could we take this one home, please, Mr. Artist? Or could you perhaps create a doll-sized one for us?

Worlds Turning
Take a look at this video clip! As the various separate clusters of random objects rotate, their shadows mingle and dance on the walls behind them. Very cool! If I understand right, each separate cluster is supposed to represent a different culture, which symbolically cast overlapping shadows on our world.

There you have my favorites (not counting Wounded Warrior Dogs or Imagine If, as you've already seen those.) Up next, Bethany will share her favorites.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

ArtPrize 2016 Winners

ArtPrize 2016 wrapped up today. This 3-week long art competition takes place in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan each fall. Tons of art was on display in a wide variety of venues, from restaurants to museums to bridges, and it was all open to the public to view for free. $500,000 in prize money was divided up between winners of both a public vote and the winners according art jurors, a panel of "art experts."

This year, as is usual, I am still scratching my head over the art juror's picks. I'm not going to bother to picture them here. (Honestly, if nude people wearing animal costumes on their heads is great art, count me out. XD) I will share the public vote winners here though.

Time-Based Winner:
Sweeper's Clock by Maarten Baas

I've listed this winner first because it is, in my opinion, the most anticlimactic. I'm not sure why this was so popular. It's a honking long video of two dudes pushing two lines of trash slowly around in a circle with brooms to resemble the hands of a clock. Yawn.

According to ArtPrize's website, "Sweeper's Clock is part of (Baas's) Real Time series of 12 hour films, a set of four works in which people's actions, rather than traditional clocks, present the passage of time as a highly physical, even labor-intensive process." 

*Blinks* Okay, then. Sorry, I still think it's lame.  

Installation Winner: 
The Butterfly Effect by Bryce Pettit and Allison Smith

1,234 handmade bronze Monarch butterflies took over an entire room in DeVos Place: on the walls, dangling from the ceiling, even perched on the emergency exit sign. It's meant to depict the annual Monarch butterfly migration (they spend summers in North America, then migrate south for the winter before returning again in spring. The artists are trying to raise awareness of the serious decline in the Monarch butterfly population over the last 20 years. 

2D Winner:
Portraits of Light and Shadow by Joao Paulo Goncalves

To quote the ArtPrize website again, "Paulo harnesses light and shadows into this pixel-portrait which is created by deliberately angled wood pieces placed in relationship to a mounted light." The first portrait is of Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring, the second is of Martin Luther King Jr., and the third is of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. As you can see, when the mounted light is off, you don't see much of anything. Turn the light on, however, and the shadows do their thing dramatically. Very unique and very cool. I can see why voters liked them so much, though my favorite of the 2D top 5 was actually this painting, Ashes to Ashes.

Ashes to Ashes took third in the 2D category
Though it depicts a forest fire, which is rather negative subject matter, the texture on this was gorgeous. Mom says the the light they had shining on it made it seem to glow.

3D and Grand Prize Winner: 
Wounded Warrior Dogs by James Mellick

These life-size wooden dog sculptures symbolize dogs of the US military who have served in various wars. Six of them are wounded survivors, while the seventh dog made the ultimate sacrifice. 

Even though my first choice for the 3D prize would've been this sculpture, Imagine If, for obvious reasons, 

Imagine If took 3rd place in the 3D category
Wounded Warrior Dogs was a close second in my book. I am so pleased it took home the grand prize, as it was by far my favorite of the 4 public vote winners!

That's it for now, but this year we promise we really will post about our favorite entries. (Last year it never happened. Oops.) Watch for them later this month!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Estonian Native Horse

HI2 has introduced a new horse breed once again! It's another one of those breeds that wasn't even on our radar, the Estonian Native Horse. I think of Estonia as one of a trio of small countries in extreme northeastern Europe: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. I tend to get them confused, but as it turns out they proceed in alphabetical order from north to south, with Estonia the northernmost of the three. 

My sisters and I are all in agreement that these small, sturdy horses are a worthwhile addition to the game. Their artwork doesn't blow us away or anything, but we think they grow on you the more you look at them. As an added bonus, they come in lots fun colors. 

Here, for your viewing pleasure, are some Estonians we admired in the BBB.

Lily's favorites:
black silver
chocolate sorrel

Julie's favorites:
dun roan
yellow dun

Felicity's favorites:
seal silver
bay-black mosaic

And finally, my favorites:
liver roan
dark dapple gray
So much cuteness! <3

Julie also has news that I will share here while I'm at it. That buddy who asked for Phoenix back? Well, she changed her mind again. We should've seen that coming. XD Phoenix and his trio of companions have returned to us from their adventure, and Julie is delighted to have them all back. Phoenix has already shed the rainbow unicorn horn and the 4-leaf clover mane decor he returned to us with and is back in his old, familiar red and gray attire.

Now we're down another horse slot again and will have to rework the horse numbering all over again, but this is for a much happier reason! Welcome home, buddy. <3