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Tag Archive | "artwork"

“The Hummingbird Tree” at the Bob for ARTPRIZE Nine


“The Hummingbird Tree” is now on display at The Bob for ArtPrize Nine. Post photo by J. Reed.

by Judy Reed

Those visiting ArtPrize Nine next week will have the chance to see a variety of art, including some from artists here in Cedar Springs and the surrounding area. Blake Wondergem’s entry is one you don’t want to miss.

Wondergem, 56, a commercial sign artist by trade, has spent the last 7-1/2 months working 12-hour days on “The Hummingbird Tree,” an original piece of artwork he first imagined four years ago.

Artist Blake Wondergem puts some finishing touches on his artwork. Post photo by J. Reed.

“It was like a vision,” he said. “I had never seen it, but I knew I wanted to do a hummingbird bladder built into a tree.”

Wondergem was born in Grand Rapids, and came to Cedar Springs at age 9 or 10. He created his first mural at age 17, in Illinois. He later moved to Tennessee, and while there, he created a mural of Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty that is displayed on Main Street in Bristol, Tenn. He estimates that more than 6 million people have seen it.

He also built a business as a commercial sign manufacturer, one that has sustained him for the last 30 years. But the creative side of the art world still calls him.

He began working on “The Hummingbird” while still in Tennessee earlier this year, then moved back to Cedar Springs three months ago, where his mom, Linda, still resides. He has been working out of a studio behind the Peacock Pet Parlor.

Wondergem calls his artwork a portable mural. It consists of 240 layers of acrylic paint on fabric, and hundreds of hours of study.

“The secret of the painting lies like a pirate treasure in all of this,” explained Wondergem, as he picked up a file of notes and photographs that he has spent countless hours studying, to get all aspects of the artwork the way they might look in a photo.

“When people look at this, I want them to ask, ‘Does it look like a picture?’ I don’t want it to look like a painting; I want it to look like a picture,” he explained.

An example of his perfection and attention to detail was working on refection. When looking at the artwork, people will be looking up at it, and the sun in the picture is in the southeast. He wanted to get the angle of the reflected light in the hummingbird feeder just right.

“I put a candle in a beer glass to study reflection,” said Wondergem. “It was one of the hardest studies I’ve ever done.”

He has used a variety of hummingbirds in the mural, as well plant and insect life. But the real star of the artwork is the ellipsis, with the nectar flowing from the tree limb into the feeder and out through the flowers. “I was so at peace when the egg was done,” remarked Wondergem.

The artwork is 7-feet wide and 9-feet tall, and is installed at The Bob, 20 Monroe Ave., Grand Rapids. The vote code is 66248.

Public voting for ArtPrize Nine begins on Wednesday, September 20 at noon and closes September 30 at 11:59 p.m. The public vote top 20 will be announced on October 1, and round two voting will begin the same day at 2 p.m. and close on October 5 at 11:59 p.m.

ArtPrize is an open, independently organized international art competition that takes place for 19 days each fall in Grand Rapids, Michigan. More than $500,000 in prizes are awarded each year, and includes a $200,000 prize awarded entirely by public vote, and another $200,000 prize awarded by a jury of art experts. Any artist working in any medium from anywhere in the world can participate.

To register to vote and to get more info, visit www.artprize.org.

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MCC features inmate artists 


A variety of artwork by inmates in Michigan correctional facilities is included in Montcalm Community College’s “Art From the Inside Out” exhibit. Located in the Instruction North Building Art Gallery on the college’s Sidney campus, the exhibit may be viewed Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 12 through Oct. 27.

A variety of artwork by inmates in Michigan correctional facilities is included in Montcalm Community College’s “Art From the Inside Out” exhibit. Located in the Instruction North Building Art Gallery on the college’s Sidney campus, the exhibit may be viewed Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 12 through Oct. 27.

“Art From the Inside Out” exhibit Sept. 12-Oct. 27

SIDNEY—Montcalm Community College’s “Art From the Inside Out” exhibit features artwork created by inmates in Michigan correctional facilities.

Located in MCC’s Instruction North Building Art Gallery on the college’s Sidney campus, the display is open Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 12 through Oct. 27.

This is the third time MCC has held an exhibit like this. The idea originally came from the University of Michigan’s annual exhibit of prisoner art.

“It is an excellent way for the MCC community to see artwork they wouldn’t usually be able to view,” said MCC Visual Arts Coordinator Carolyn Johnson. “At MCC, part of our mission is to allow our students to experience different ideas and expressions. Our art students critique and analyze the artworks and expand their perspective by observing work from people who have very different life experiences from the average college student.

“We have received responses from community members, as well as from our students, expressing how enlightening it is to see artwork created by a marginalized population,” she added. “Art is very personal. How we engage with art is very personal. It helps us to see through the eyes of people who live differently from us, as well as people throughout history and across cultures. Art helps us expand our ideas. The more we know about others, the more empathetic and understanding we are toward others.”

MCC expects more than 100 artworks in 2D and 3D from approximately 75 artists from four area institutions.

“It amazes me to see how strong the creative impulse is in humans,” Johnson said. “From picking up charcoal to adorn prehistoric cave walls, to kids building sand castles, there is an innate urge to make things of beauty.

“Many of the people taking part in this exhibit have never had any art education and only started to express themselves visually since being incarcerated,” she added. “Many of the artworks express ideas of remorse and sadness. Art is a safe way to explore the entire range of human emotions.”

MCC Art Instructor Debbie Bell said this art show is meant to educate and challenge students.

“This art is very psychological and has intense emotion within it, so most pieces hold a lot of meaning and pent up emotions,” Bell said. “This art show gives viewers a connection with people who they are unable to have contact with as they would with others in society.”

Johnson said it is important to realize that most of the people in prison will one day be released.

“When someone has paid their debt to society, we need to find ways for them to fit back into the outside world. Art can help them do just that. If these artists don’t have a creative outlet or positive way to interact with the outside world, they may revert to the behavior that got them incarcerated.”

Bell said all MCC art instructors have their students observe the art, write reflection papers on the artwork and discuss what materials were used.

“Some of the participating prison artists have family members in our community,” Johnson said. “Many people in our area are employed at area prisons. How much safer might their jobs be when prisoners have a safe outlet to express their emotions?”

Most of the artwork is available for sale. The prices range from $5 to $500, based on the piece’s size and the artist’s experience. Once a piece is taken out of the prison, it cannot be returned to the artist.

Visit MCC’s Instruction North Art Gallery on the college’s Sidney campus to view and/or purchase pieces. A ballot box in the Art Gallery allows visitors to vote for their favorite artwork and People’s Choice Awards will be given to the artists receiving the most votes at the end of the show.

Contact MCC Visual Arts Coordinator Carolyn Johnson at cjohnson@montcalm.edu or 989-328-1248 for more information.

 

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MCC hosts unique art display


MCC art student Fallon Carter works on a drawing during art class.

Unique artwork will be featured during Montcalm Community College’s annual Holiday Time Art Show and Sale, Nov. 28 through Dec. 4 in the Instruction North Building Art Gallery on the college’s Sidney campus.
The event features an open house and an artwork sale. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 28 through Dec. 2 and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4. Work from MCC’s art students and art club members will be featured, as well as pieces created by community members.
MCC art student Fallon Carter, who will have pieces on display, touches base with the nature of her artwork. She is inspired by many artists but thrives by exploring her boundless imagination.
“By looking at my art, I hope people find inspiration to focus on the beauty and capture it in whatever way they know how, whether it is drawing, writing, singing—the list goes on,” Carter says.
She hopes her audience will interpret the beauty in her art and appreciate what they might not recognize as beauty. Carter is a sophomore at MCC and plans to transfer to Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids.
MCC Visual Arts Coordinator Carolyn Johnson says the community is fortunate to have the opportunity to view and purchase pieces from many talented artists.
“It’s exciting to offer such a diverse collection of artwork during this show. Many of the pieces are offered for sale, which allows our community members to buy locally for holiday gift-giving,” she says. “Not only are patrons able to support American-made products, but their gifts will be unique creations by area artists.”
The Holiday Time Art Show and Sale is sponsored by the MCC Art Club. Light refreshments will be served during the sale.
Call Johnson at (989) 328-1248 or e-mail cjohnson@montcalm.edu or contact Art Instructor Debbie Bell at debbieb@montcalm.edu for more information.

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