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2022 Visual Arts Nominees

“Shades Of Green” (Glass)
Zoe Buckley, Fremont High School
My artwork is beautiful as well as functional. I only began to like looking at this piece when the process of making it was complete. I struggle to achieve in my eyes what perfection is. There is no meaning in this piece and it evokes no emotion in me, I only hope the viewer knows I worked hard on it.
“mixed media glass art” (Blown Glass)
Alec Law, Grand Haven High School
Most fathers might disapprove of their child playing with fire, but somehow, I convinced mine to allow it. Working with my hands has always been a large part of my life. I have been actively perfecting my craft since the age of ten, when I became interested in making jewelry. The pursuit of my work has helped me overcome challenges and push my creative boundaries. Through my dedication and drive, I have reached new levels of ingenuity and achieved new goals. My work has enabled me to meet amazing people who have been instrumental in my development as an artist and I’m very grateful for that. I first became interested in jewelry making when my grandmother visited one summer. I was enamored with the tools and wire used to create these works of art. From then on, I was hooked. My passion for creating evolved to glass fusing techniques. Along the way, I have met and have been influenced by many incredible artists. In large part, I credit my elementary art teacher, Mr. Aducci, for sparking my interest in glass as a medium. Experiencing the Chihuly exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens also drove my interest in torch working and borosilicate glass work. When I work with glass, I play with how and where to add color and design. Trying different techniques with borosilicate glass to see what the material can do. Through experimenting I push my designs and creations and continue to grow my work in different ways
“Teenage Struggles” (Mixed Media)
Lea Kusche, Hart High School
The idea of my project is inspired by the show Euphoria, which is mainly about teenagers that struggle with mental health issues and drugs. I drew myself as a Euphoria character to show that those things are issues in real life as well. I included the space objects to describe the feeling of being lost and displayed the different factors that can cause struggles for teenagers.
“The Blue Jean Mitten” (Fabric)
Amya Battice, Mason County Central High School
The Blue Jean Mitten is a piece I made to represent Michigan and the blues that surround us .
“Art Recreation of Elaine de Kooning Self Portrait” (Digital Photography)
Patricia Gaiser, Mona Shores High School
In my art recreation of Elaine de Kooning’s self portrait, I tried to portray the soft yellow toned color palette and old modern feel of her painting into my photo. I used the items I had around my house to get as similar as I could to the background and outfit of Koonings portrait. After the photo was taken I went back and edited it to really finish it off with adding hues, saturation, highlights and many more editing styles. I picked Elaine because I loved her abstract paintings and her personality shown through her artwork. This piece is so interesting to me and that’s why I thought it would be perfect to recreate it.
“Paradiso e Contrapasso” (Mixed Media)
AJ Asmus, Muskegon Catholic Central High School
While creating this piece I couldn’t help but be reminded of all the souls recently lost. My hope was to capture the solemn reverence obligated by human nature to those who have passed.
“A Serene Night in Chicago.” (Color Pencil)
Evelyn Hernandez, Muskegon High School
The question I assigned myself was Can I use tints and shades of colors to give paintings meaning. To answer this question I made sure to research what vibes each color gives to know what I want to portray within the art piece. I used a basic picture in my camera roll and thought it would be fun to see if different colors could make it look cool. I used blue shades with tints of purple to give the viewer a feeling of serenity and calmness. I really liked how it turned out. It’s cool how you can turn a simple background into a whole different thing with just a mix of different colors.
“Science Fiction Fashion” (Fabric)
Haley Powers, Pentwater High School
Science Fiction Fashion is a 2-piece set and a crown inspired by the costuming in science fiction films. I was inspired by a kind of dystopian desert that is often used in sci-fi films. The skirt is inspired by clothing people would often wear to renaissance fairs because often times the clothing in science fiction is inspired early fashion history. I painted a corset I made using metallic colors.
“Science Fiction Fashion” (Fabric)
Haley Powers, Pentwater High School
Science Fiction Fashion is a 2 piece set and a crown inspired by the costuming in science fiction films. I was inspired by a kind of dystopian desert that is often used in sci-fi films. The skirt is inspired by clothing people would often wear to renaissance fairs because often times the clothing in science fiction is inspired early fashion history. I painted a corset I made using metallic colors.
“Elsa Guerrero” (Graphite and Charcoal)
Esmeralda Guerrero, Shelby High School
The two portraits in this picture are of my youngest sister Elsa Guerrero. I created this diptych to illustrate the emotions of my overly expressive sister. Out of all five of my youngest sisters, she’s always brought out the best of me. I admire everything about her and hold her dear in my heart.
“I Do” (Oil)
Courtney LaClair, White Cloud High School
I created this piece as a Christmas gift for my parents. I wanted to create something that would have a lot of emotional value to them. I decided on painting them on their wedding day because it was one of the greatest days of their lives. I found that the oil paint allowed me to give the painting a hazy, memory-like effect.
“Dad’s Music” (Acrylic)
Neva Hundt, Whitehall High School
I created this impressionist painting of my dad playing the guitar. In my art class, we were focusing on impressionism, so I painted something that was creating values and involved human form. I was challenged to create lots of different skin tones and the variation of depth for the background and all with out blending. Playing music is something we have always done together and are very passionate about.
“Equation” (Acrylic)
Samantha Navitskas, Fruitport High School
As I started to approach this piece for showcase I wanted to make it grand and stand out. I wanted this piece to be original and like no other. I found myself to be an abstract artist in 2015 when I loved working with color and having no expectations or limits. There was no right or wrong and that’s why I love being an abstract artist. While approaching this painting I was excited but mostly scared for I have never entered a contest like this and I’ve never done a painting this big. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but I knew it was what I wanted. This piece has brought excitement, stress and happiness. Everyday I had a different opinion of the painting, one day from liking it to the next wanting to give up and throw it away but in the end it was worth it, I had to trust the process.
“Tea of Life” (Clay)
Sydney Higgins, Grant High School
I created a functional teapot from clay. I used the coil method with a hand wheel to create the piece. I was inspired by Japanese culture and nature to create the unique shape and designs. When creating this piece I wanted to make it cohesive. The rain is falling from the top of the handle all the way down to the bottom giving the plants life and holding the tea. I was excited to create a functional piece that I would actually use.
“All I Can do is Watch” (Mixed Media)
Gina Nye, Holton High School
I created this piece shortly after I lost someone very close to me to bad influences. I felt I slowly watched and encouraged this behavior in the end. The grief and guilt consumed me and I didn’t know how to handle it. So I expressed it in this art piece. Know I can hardly recognize them and watch their life from the sidelines. All I Can do is Watch…
“A Perfect, Imbalanced World” (Decoupage)
Trevor Oomen, Mason County Eastern High School
A little change can make a big difference. The Imbalance of my sculpture represents the Imbalance of the world when covid first started.
“this earth and i” (Graphite and Acrylic)
August Hawley, Montague High School
When I started this project, I realized that I’ve been making the same piece over and over again for three years. I intended to for this to be my final “thesis” on the intersection between people and nature and the idea that they’re synonymous. We need the world around us (bees, forests, etc), but we have to remember that we are the world around us, too, and when we hurt the earth, we hurt ourselves just as much. I have a feeling that this will still be far from my last dive into this particular project.
“me in a nutshell” (Acrylic)
Jayquan Sharp, Muskegon Heights Public School Academy
i started with a photo that me and my friends took and drew lines on a canvas and started painting. i was very happy and proud of myself for what i did.
“Dragon’s Lair” (Graphite)
Daisy Belanger, Newaygo High School
In my art, I like to capture fantastical scenes with a story behind it. With just a piece of pencil and paper, a whole scene can create a sense of exploration.
“Your Side, My Side, and the Truth” (Chalk and Oil Pastel)
Ginger VanAntwerp, North Muskegon High School
There are always three sides to every story. I Imagine if we took a deeper look, we may find that Rapunzel was the witch, and her mother really was her mother. Perhaps the real truth lies within deeper emotions. The secrets that no one dares to reveal, after all fear has a way of changing people. Perhaps Rapunzel just felt unheard, her tower was a metaphor, and her mother was just preoccupied with self care and outward appearance. Reality can be infinite.
“Self Autonomy” (Watercolor and Pastels)
Elijah Pierce, Orchard View High School
Me, exploring, expanding, living.
“Connection” (Acrylic)
Reanna Becker, Ravenna High School
For this piece I wanted to focus on relationships and connections. In this painting the male figure represents the Moon and the female represents the Sun. The Moon figure has a sense of mystery and darkness surrounding it, while the Sun radiates a sense of energy and positivity. I wanted to show that even though two things are completely different from one another they can manage to co-exist.
“Imagine” (Duct Tape)
Hailey Bos, Reeths-Puffer High School
In light of recent events affecting individuals around the world, I wanted to create an artwork that most people would recognize as a symbol of peace. John Lennon, a peace activist who achieved worldwide fame as a vocalist and rhythm guitarist in the Beatles, stood for political causes much greater than himself. With the unification of 10,800 individual pieces of tape—as we are all individual human beings—to embody a living legend, my work stands for something bigger than ourselves: a world where the pieces unite for peace and acceptance of everyone.
“Unity in Diversity ” (Acrylic and Gold Leaf)
Inez Allard, Spring Lake High School
I made this piece during Black History Month, and I was inspired by the clothing and symbols from Ghanaian culture. I chose to use the Adinkra symbol called Funtunfunefu Denkyemfunefu on the dress which represents unity in diversity. The name literally translates to “Siamese crocodiles”. The two conjoined crocodiles in the symbol represent democracy and cooperation. Crocodiles are typically independent creatures, but in this case, are forced to co-exist and unite for survival. The meaning of this ancient symbol is still relevant today.