GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – After a three-year hiatus, novice artists finally have the chance to show their work on the ArtPrize stage.

Barely starting his full-time artistic career, Jackson Wrede, 25, grew up with his first participation in the ArtPrize.

Standing 9 feet tall and 7 feet wide, Wrede’s reflection room, “The son of the man,” is on display at the Amway Grand Plaza.

“The painting throws around some theories that may explain human evolution or human origin,” said Wrede, “It looks at who we are as creatures now and where we might be heading in the future.”

“Son of Man” by Jackson Wrede, exhibited at the Amway Grand Plaza during ArtPrize 2021.

The Chicago native first heard about ArtPrize in 2019 after moving to Grand Rapids to pursue graduate studies at Kendall College of Art and Design.

Wrede in May received his Masters of Fine Arts in Painting, using “The son of the man” as the centerpiece of his thesis exhibition.

After ArtPrize was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wrede would have to wait another year before entering his first room.

“Finally, now that it’s here in September 2021, I was fighting for a place in ArtPrize,” he said.

The wait seems to be paying off as Wrede received $ 250 in cash prizes on Monday.

Of “The son of the man” To Man who thinks, Newbie artist Dave Tonegatto shows us that you don’t need an art degree to be an ArtPrize artist.

Tonegatto, a welder from Westland, says the opportunity to show his work to ArtPrize was the motivation he needed to complete his titled self-portrait Man who thinks.

“One day I got motivated again and heard about the arrival of ArtPrize and that’s what motivated me to finish it after being buried in a corner of my garage for a while “said Tonegatto.

By landing one of the coveted positions outside of BOB, Tonegatto sees it as a possible turning point to turn his part-time hobby into a career.

“I would love to do (art) full time, but right now I’m taking it easy,” he said.

Presenting his first piece ArtPrize at the age of 70, Henri Laime and La Sirena prove that it is never too late to participate in the competition.

“I happened to do a piece that went well and everyone said, ‘You should put it in ArtPrize,’ so here I am,” Laime said.

La Sirena by Henri Laime, an ArtPrize 2021 entry displayed at the Amway Grand Plaza hotel. (September 14, 2021)

A tugboat captain by trade, the Norton Shores resident channeled his love for water by creating a three-dimensional mermaid from over 1,000 spoons.

“The name of the room is La Sirena, which in Spanish is mermaid, ”he said.

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