2024 Nominees

Sorted alphabetically by school name, then student name.

The Endless Cycle (Acrylic)

Molly Kendziera, Artios Academies of West Michigan

Comparison kills joy. If we were meant to all look the same, we would. But we don’t, we are all unique and different for a reason. The person you are comparing yourself to is also comparing themselves to someone else, on and on. Someone has to stop the endless cycle.

Swallowed by the sea (Oil)

Tatum Dykstra, Fruitport High School

This oil painting is about the LGBTQ+ community. It represents how LGBTQ+ people are often alienated from their friend groups or worse kicked out from their homes just for being who they are. The two girls in the painting found that they had nowhere else to go, and found themselves swallowed by the sea. Maybe this represents how they’re drowning in the criticism of others or how they mentally feel exhausted by the struggle. 

Hazy Delusions (Mixed media)

Allison Roossinck, Grant High School

The inspiration for this piece came from the ease of becoming lost in one’s own mind. I see my work as an understanding of all the people who frequently disappear from reality with stories. Delusion, that’s all. Fake stories and phony emotions created to cope with the reality of life. No thoughts, and nothing for the eyes to focus on. The use of the “clouds” mimics a hazy dream-like feeling, where nothing really makes sense, but the creator of the dream understands.

Introspection (Mixed media)

Ellie Lotz, Hesperia High School

This year more than ever, I have experienced significant growth within myself as well as rapid changes in my personal life. In my piece “Introspection” My goal is to display how I mentally view these changes in a way that is visually pleasing, yet sentimental to my life.

On Top (Mixed media)

Lucille O’Harra, Mason County Central High School

This artwork attests to the fact that you can have everything and still have nothing at all. Loneliness is a bitter friend.

Catch Me Please (Mixed media)

Estella Larsen, Mona Shores High School

To investigate how the people in my support system each contribute individually to my PANDAS recovery through their support, I assembled my portraits in a grid of nine and carefully painted black lines stemming from my self-portrait in the center, connecting to the portraits of my family. The black lines surrounding me symbolize the isolation and loneliness I feel. The line thickness shows how much support I receive from each person.

With love, Frankenstein (Ceramic)

Christy Tran, Muskegon Catholic Central High School

I don’t have a heartfelt story behind my artwork, I simply wanted to create something pretty. When creating this piece I wanted to challenge myself to different techniques, thus my Frankenstein vase was born. Frankenstein, the Scientist, created his life’s work out of a collection of bodies; in a similar fashion (but less gruesome and morbid) I created artwork out of a collection of different techniques, styles, and ideas.

Dreamscape (Mixed media)

Karissa Carlson, Newaygo High School

I created this butterfly out of stained glass. The blue colors represent peace and harmony. Butterflies are  elegant and the media I chose represents how I feel about nature. .I added different textures and media to create a symbolic atmosphere.

Moonlight Stoll (Colored marker)

Emily Smith, Oakridge High School

Before this piece of artwork, I had never attempted a large-scale colored pointillism drawing.  It was fun figuring out how to layer the colors so my forest and mushrooms would have dimension and give a moody vibe.

Moving, The Backpack House (Mixed media)

Anaviolet Jeruzal, Pentwater High School

Before creating this piece, I thought,  “How cool would it be if you could take your house with you wherever you went?” I then decided that the most practical form for it would have to be a bag or a purse. Then I thought further into my house fashion and decided it would be so fun if I made it a very bizarre color, plum! I made the house out of cardboard, fabric, ribbon, lace, beads, etc. Then, to go with the oddity of the color and shape I made off-putting dolls to accompany the wearer while he/she goes on an adventure! The dolls are made of air-dried clay, wire, and fabric. The lady doll even has a change of clothes. I used fairy lights as the electrical in the house to illuminate the stained glass windows at night. I feel this work has allowed me to further explore my creative whims.

Do Not Feed or Annoy (Mixed media)

Alexander Collins, Reeths-Puffer High School

My art involves a process of trial and error with a lot of experimenting with various mediums. My main goal in creating is to cover the area around me with interesting characters, words, and patterns that implement graffiti techniques inspired by artists like Basquiat. The mediums used in this piece are an assortment of paints, oil pastel, and markers paired with a cardboard base layered with various adhesives, labels, and papers. I believe that nothing is off limits as a potential medium, and a variety of mediums allow me to better illustrate the layers of chaos and conflict we are inundated with and surrounded by in our world on a daily basis. My hopes are to show that conflict and confusion in our world immerses itself in all other areas of life, even art.

Jaymes (Acrylic on canvas)

Heaven Rodriguez, Walkerville High School

In this painting I wanted to work on my ability to layer colors and add more depth to my canvas. I also challenged myself to think about positive and negative space through every developing stage of the piece. I typically find inspiration from my friends, family, and the connections I have with them. 

My Rural Community (Oil on canvas)

Avery Christoffersen, Fremont High School

I wanted my art to represent my hometown and the rural community we have. I grew up in the country, and I have appreciated the Amish, and how beautiful they look since I was little. My art represents what I have always loved. 

A Simpler Time; Punk Pixels, Seafoam Sanctuary, and Stuffed Animal Parades (Digital)

Francesca Sipe, Grand Haven High School

Nostalgia is a peaceful yet melancholy place from always being player 2, or better yet, inevitably being last place, fake tropical fish tanks, lava lamps, and soap bottles, and your cuddly friend who always traveled to the grocery store and sleepovers to give you an authentic warm hug at your convenience. Every day goes by without much change, but suddenly a scent, taste, or sound makes you pause, you look back and everything’s different.

It’s painful to reminisce. Sometimes it feels better not to recall at all. However ignoring the pain is often more harmful, especially to that giggling child in the faded Cannon photographs. Leaving them veiled in the ivy behind a great oak tree, waiting to be found in their favorite hiding spot. Next time you hear the Mourning Dove’s song, promise me you’ll embrace these memories, forgive, and heal your inner child. 

Head Empty (Mixed media)

Kayla Kumzi, Hart High School

In my piece, I wanted to show the physical representation of feeling overwhelmed. Feeling like you are overstuffed and about to spill over the edge, the surface tension is just about to break but doesn’t. That tension and emotion is something I thought was important to show.

River Valley (Oil)

Julia Reed, Ludington High School

I wanted to create something to inspire appreciation of the natural world. I chose the mountains, as they are my favorite landscape.

Together (Pencil)

Isabella Gulembo, Mason County Eastern High School

“Together” is a visual representation of my life as a teenager compared to my sister’s life as a preschooler. It showcases many different things that I like to do but she can’t, and vice versa. The story resolves in showing how we still bond despite our differences. 

Ophelia (Pencil)

Maci Johnson, Montague High School

I enjoyed creating this piece because it gave me the chance to explore new values and intricate detailing. My goal was to depict a peaceful death for Ophelia in an undisturbed setting, which is the opposite of what she experienced in Hamlet.

Memorias (Ink)

Esteban Martinez, Muskegon High School

Seeing the Influence that Frida Kahlo has had in Mexico has inspired me to draw about my culture. Throughout my time in Jalisco I’ve seen various murals, and artwork across the walls, and merchandise with Frida Kahlo. I decided to draw her since I wanted to showcase how my inking has gotten better, and to display more horizontal hatching mixed with other techniques I’ve learned while in Mexico.

Six Hours (Acrylic on canvas)

Anna Blastic, North Muskegon High School

This work is based on a dream I had many years ago. It starts with me trapped on top of a building in the middle of a storm, holding onto the lightning rod as the skyscraper shakes and bends with the wind. Through the rain, I spot a building beside me, a small distance away over the cavernous gap parting into the city streets below. I leap across, I miss, and plummet down. I reawoke in my childhood bedroom as a baby. There, I was presented with two button-like choices: six more hours to live, or six more weeks for someone else. I chose the six hours and was back where I live now. It was the middle of the night, but all the lights were on and I could hear the muffled sounds of the TV from the living room. I went out and my parents were there on the couch, but they didn’t see me and couldn’t hear me when I spoke either. It was like I was a ghost, and I couldn’t say goodbye. I went back to my room in defeat and tried to write a letter instead, to tell my family all the things you’re supposed to say before you die, but I couldn’t think of anything. Six hours eventually passed, and I died alone lying in bed, surrounded by scribbled-out scraps of paper. I realized then, that I should’ve given the time to someone who had something more to say.

Hopefully, many components of this dream stand out in the piece. The building up in the left corner above my current face, blinded by lightning, me as a baby with a mobile, on the mobile a clock and to the right the envelope of the letter I tried to write but couldn’t. My medium for this piece was acrylic paint on a flat canvas.

Unbound (Mixed media)

Elijah Pierce, Orchard View High School

In this piece “Unbound” I took inspiration from people that are themselves in a world full of neutrals and shells that hide the bright vibrant colors of each individual.

Under His Protection (Mixed media)

Zoe Marsman, Ravenna High School

With this piece I wanted to show the free gift of protection that we can all gain from God. The Devil is always out there trying to get at us in any way possible, but when we turn to God we are given a gift of eternal protection and a way to fight back. I also wanted to show the beauty of believing in a God that sacrificed his son for us to be able to live eternal life with him in a peaceful world. The Bible also tells us that we should live with childlike faith and that’s why I did a sort of kid-like painting technique on the one side and a world thrown into chaos by the Devil and his evil doings on the other. God cares for and loves each and every one of us. We are always Under His Protection.

Unmasked (Ballpoint pen)

Oscar Anderson, Spring Lake High School

My piece represents what it feels like to be a reserved person. My expression outside doesn’t always reflect the emotion on the inside. The peeling of the face reflects the malleable facade that hides the pain beneath the pleasant expression.

MC Escher - Sun and Moon (Colored pencils)

Lexi Yordy, Whitehall High School

My drawing consists of a sun and moon, and I only used colored pencils to create my piece. I have never used colored pencils like this before and using them is fairly foreign so I had to learn how to layer them properly. I wanted to give the piece a moonlit and sunset vibe.

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