Skip to content

2023 Visual Arts Nominees

“Over-achievement” (Oil on canvas)
Kaiya Flores, Fremont High School

 When creating any art piece I often lose track of time and sense of reality. I like to challenge myself in my art because I believe we grow in places outside of our comfort zone. My art consists of me constantly making mistakes, and fixing them or adapting to them, and I think that’s the beauty of art. No matter what mistakes I make I know I can still produce a beautiful piece that I can be proud of. 

“Fire Starter” (Ink and Gold Leaf)
Alexander LaLonde, Grand Haven High School

Binding the gap between comic relief and eldritch horror, I created Firestarter to link our world with the unknown. Derived from biblically refrenced depictions, the angel-like creature seen destroying a popular city on earth is entranced in a deadly pursuit with our hot-headed protagonist. Yet, in their time of utmost importance, our hero’s attention seems… elsewhere. 
“Young to be Queen” (Black and White Digital Photography)
Zoey Brown, Hart High School

What I wanted to achieve in this photo is to give the children of the future the representation that they deserve. Children have so much pressure to live up to society’s standards of what they should be. As much as a child wants to make their parents proud, nothing should stand in the way of being a kid. 

“Fall Leaf” (Chalk Pastel)
Brodrick Fialek, Holton High School

Many people think of chalk as a child’s toy, but I see it as a great medium to blend, layer, and just have fun with.  The photograph I referenced was one I took in photography class that I believed was great compositionally and full of value.  I hope every viewer of my art piece appreciates the techniques and attention to detail I used to complete it. 

“Swimming in Money” (mixed-media)
Elizabeth Britting, Mason County Central High School

I wanted to create a piece that was meaningful and purposeful. My piece “Swimming in Money” is meant to illustrate greed within day to day life and how it continues to grow until it is out of proportion. 

“Koselius Portrait” (Acrylic paint, canvas, mod podge, black primer)
Joel Klimek, Mona Shores High School

This is a dear painting I made for my friend’s birthday, it is of his incubus bard character, Koselius, who is in a game of D&D [Dungeons & Dragons] that our friends play. Koselius is a charming fellow who has a pet snake, he is a noble from part of the infernal plane or Hell. With this portrait, I went for a more abstract way of colouring, colours used in an expressive way over realism. 

“teenage nightmare ” (wire, paper mache, and clay)
Daeja Hill, Muskegon Catholic Central High School

Being a teenager is hard, especially in a time where social media controls our free time and leaves impressionable young kids unrealistic expectations of what they ‘should’ be. I believe that many struggle with this issue, and feel alone. I created my scuplture to reach out to those who are struggling with their physical state and essentially remind them that;
 YOU are perfect the way you are and another woman’s beauty is not the absence of your own. 

“Let There Be Light.” (Mixed Media: acrylic paint, collage, watercolor)
Grace Painter, Newaygo High School

As I have developed as an artist through the years, I have pulled inspiration from a multitude of artists. However, the works of Vincent Van Gogh have always caught my eye and pulled at my heart. I recently was gifted the opportunity of a lifetime to go view the Van Gogh Exhibit in America. Using this experience and my faith, I created this rendition of a couple of Van Gogh’s famous paintings: “The Starry Night” and “The Olive Trees.” It hopes to capture my wonder and fascination with the beauty of God’s creation and art.

“Flower field” (Graphite)
Ellie Dewitte, Oakridge High School

The theme of my portfolio is flowers. Some flowers might not be as popular or well-known, but they still are breathtaking.  That’s what I wanted my portraits to represent; the flowers that aren’t mentioned or as well-known.

“Culture in Distress” (Oil paint )
Kennedy Hynde, Reeths-Puffer High School

In current times, diversity is commonly considered as something that is desired and accepted. However, my hope is to portray the focal point of my piece, a cultural woman who appears to be losing color, as a visual representation of how an obstinate society and diversity appear to interact. The message that I want to get across to my audience is one that addresses an injustice that is consistently prominent in today’s society. While individuals will frequently say that culture is welcomed with open arms, the reality is that cultures around the world are falling to extinction as a result of the individuals who refuse to accept them. 

“Flightless” (Charcoal, Graphite, Ethically Sourced Pidgeon and Chicken Feathers)
Anna Hultman, Spring Lake High School

Flightless explores how abusive relationships can make people feel exposed, powerless, and trapped. The angel’s cut wings represent how domestic abuse reinforced by a patriarchal society can subjugate and suppress women. The wing clippings she kneels on allude to the many before her who were cruelly torn down by centuries of abuse, but still, she remains strong. The strength and bravery women continue to show in times of hardship inspired me to create this piece. 

“Morty ” (Charcoal and graphite )
Bryce  Haltom, White Cloud High School

I find inspiration in the ordinary moments of life. This drawing of my dog captures a simple yet special moment between us. Through my drawing, I aim to convey the joy and companionship that my furry friend brings into my life. I hope this artwork reminds viewers of the beauty in every day and the love that our animal companions provide. 

“Mystic Blues ” (Acrylic paint, spray paint)
Samantha Navitskas, Fruitport High School

The purpose of my art is to express my inner vision. To show the unthinkable, the beauty and the mystery of non objective art. To make something that is considered “nothing” into a visual poem. Painting is the poetry of sight. Some may not understand it and others may create a wild meaning. It’s up to the viewer to create their own meaning, that’s if there even is a meaning. It may just be a beautiful visual piece or it may have the meaning to life. You decide. 

“Hidden in the Moss” (Ceramics)
Hope Olson, Grant High School

Being the child of an art teacher, I’ve been exposed to art for as long as I can remember; from the stick figures and lopsided pinch-pots I used to make as a kid, I’ve grown a lot over the years to get to where I’m at today. I’ve dipped my toes into just about every media I can get my hands on— you name it and I’ve probably done it at least once! But sculpture, especially ceramics, holds a certain place in my heart for its sheer versatility. Someone can just look at a hunk of clay, say ‘I’m gonna make you into a two-tiered dragon-shaped teapot’, and then just… do it! 

“The Feeling to be Captured ” (Acrylic and gauche paints )
Ellie Lotz, Hesperia High School

The creation of my painting “A Feeling to be Captured” was inspired by the look of pure focus and enjoyment while the musician in the painting would create something he is so passionate about, music. When I watched him create his music for the very first time I was mesmerized by the way he would freely and effortlessly pluck his guitar strings and imagine the sounds in his head before even playing them. I knew from that very moment that this was an emotion that needed to be captured visually instead of verbally. 

“Curious” (Colored pencil and watercolor)
Kadence Keegstra, Ludington High School

When making this, I wanted to go for something that was odd and intriguing. I really like bears and thought it would fit with my idea to draw a group of them walking through a forest of giant flowers and frogs. I did a wash of watercolor and added in my details with colored pencil. 

“Simplicity” (Acrylic on canvas)
Samantha Bateson, Mason County Eastern High School

I like to make art as a way to decompress and relax. Painting things in a sort of repetitive and slow manner helps with that. As of right now, I enjoy painting in classic and simple styles. My favorite things to paint typically require a lot of patience with blending, such as still lifes.

“All of the Time” (Watercolor mixed media)
Mars Stout, Montague High School

This piece is dedicated to my lovely partner, Morgan Ray. Morgan is one of a kind and has always supported me throughout our relationship. I love spending my days with them and bonding over our shared interests in fashion, music, and movies. The title of this piece is inspired by a song called “Love You All The Time” by Fur, a band we really like and relate to. though the majority of the song is irrelevant, I will constantly have the ending of it stuck in my head. The quote “I love you all of the time” will forever be applicable to our relationship.

“Swaying In The Moonlight” (Gouache and Acrylic)
KaNiyah Martin, Muskegon High School

This piece was inspired by my step sister who takes interest in ballet. The painting takes place in Italy at midnight during the renaissance age. It depicts an African American woman dancing on a balcony as the moonlight beams on her. 

“Connections” (Mixed Media: charcoal pencil, embrodery, and sewing.)
Lillian  Atkinson-Miller, North Muskegon High School

This work invites you to look at how you represent yourself and question if that is who you are. What are your connections to yourself? How does this affect your connections to others? Questions I want the audience to ask themselves when examining this piece. 

“Amor Eterno” (Full Value Pencils )
Abdy Santoyo, Ravenna High School

In this piece, I wanted to focus on a full value illustration. Amor Eterno is Spanish for “Eternal Love.” I wanted to showcase that love lasts far beyond the customary vows: “till death do us part.” When you truly love someone you’d move Heaven and Earth to be with them. Even in death, I’d like to believe that our soul ties remain tethered and our love endless.

“Escape” (Colored pencils and acrylic paint.)
Emma Soelberg, Shelby High School

Only in darkness can our passions be set free. It took experiencing the ups and downs of life for me to find my passion for art and who I am as an individual. I specifically chose to make my self-portrait black and white to demonstrate the doubt and blindness we so often feel. I’m gazing up at the colorful butterflies to represent how finding ourselves can draw us out of the darkness and unlock our unlimited potential. Look up and escape. 

“Black Diamond Mine” (Black and white charcoal on drawing paper)
Gerrod McDaniel, Western MI Christian High School

I wanted to challenge myself by trying to make a reverse charcoal piece and I thought an old mine would be the perfect subject to capture the emotion and time period of early mining companies. I mainly was just looking for a challenge on a subject I found interesting in which history is one of them.

“Duck Lake Sunsets ” (Watercolor )
Madison Borgman, Whitehall High School

I love mixing my love of photography with my love for Art. My art looks best when I paint pictures Ive taken myself, painting them allows me to make a photo bright with colors and bring out the true beauty in the world I live in. 
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *