artprize 2012, here we come!

Shades of Gray (ArtPrize 2012)In September of this year, I'll be doing something that's waaay out of my comfort zone: ArtPrize. Here's how the ArtPrize website defines the event:

The ArtPrize® event is an international art exhibition and social experiment.

It brings together an unprecedented conversation and critical dialog between the art world and the general public. The top prize in 2012, which is decided by public vote, is $200,000. A panel of arts professionals will decide our new, $100,000 Grand Juried Prize.

All prizes combined in 2012 total $560,000, the world’s largest total cash prize for art.

Why, you ask, am I doing this? Because I'm afraid of competition. Seriously, what better way to face down the fear of competition than to get involved in the race for the world's biggest art prize? Ok, no - it's not really why I'm doing it, but it's in the mix.

My entry is called Shades of Gray, a paper sculpture installation of a swan dancer, inspired by Swan Lake's Odette/Odile characters. Here's what I had to say in my artist statement:

Swan Lake’s Odette and Odile embody the dichotomy of white and black, light and dark. Yet inside each of us exists a little bit of both. We are complex, changing beings, not simply good or bad.

This piece is about a more nuanced approach: living in shades of gray. What if there were more options than all or nothing, yes or no, win or lose? What if we had a range of options for happiness?

Living in shades of gray is my current answer to this challenge. The irony of entering the world’s largest art competition is not lost on me. Is this yet another act of extremism? Or is it simply having the courage to face something I fear and allow myself to be, regardless of the outcome?

Hundreds of hand-cut and sewn swan feathers in productionI will attempt to chronicle both my entry and the experience as things proceed.

This week, I'm up to my neck in hand-cut, hand-sewn paper feathers for my dancer's head.

But that's not what's daunting. The logistics of getting everything and everyone to Grand Rapids is a whole other story.

It will be worth it, though. Thanks to the fine folks at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel -  smack in the middle of ArtPrize action - I'll have a prime spot in their grand lobby for Shades of Gray.

I have faith that it will all come together, espcially since I'll have my mom Donna, and über-friend Mandy on the team again.

For now, I'm happy to be past the entry deadline without backing out!