GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two ArtPrize 10 entries continue to turn heads as they compete for both the juried and public vote grand prizes.
“THE STRING PROJECT” and “Mastermind America” are the lucky entries and both of them are in the Two-dimensional category.
Alexi Torres, the artists behind “Mastermind America,” spoke to 24 Hour News 8 via FaceTime on Monday.
“First, with the judges — that was really cool — and now, with the public, I’m really grateful,” the Atlanta-based artist said.
>>Inside woodtv.com: ArtPrize 10’s Why These Finalists: 2-D and installation
Torres said he found out he was a finalist from journalists who called to congratulate him. The oil canvas painting is his first ArtPrize entry it’s also his largest work.
“The main idea is to show interconnectedness and how everything need to cooperate as a whole,” Torres said.
It’s still turning heads of visitors like Beth Leeson.
“The more you look at it, the more you want to stay and look at it more because it’s fabulous,” Leeson said.
Torres moved to Atlanta from Cuba 14 years ago. He said his entry represents how so many things work together to make America what it is.
“America is just, to me, the best,” Torres said. “I love it with its bad and its good, but it’s just terrific.”
“I could certainly understand that this (is) a depiction of the American experience (or) the American adventure,” Leeson told 24 Hour News 8.
Down the hallway and upstairs in DeVos Place sits the only other ArtPrize 10 entry to earn a spot in both finals: “THE STRING PROJECT.”
“I commend them, I congratulate them, and I hope they win,” visitor Steve Barber told 24 Hour News 8.
The artists, Chelsea Nix and Mariano Cortez, said that winning ArtPrize would help their non-profit in Guatemala expand to help more elderly women and abandoned kids.
“This project can take off in Africa, India, Nepal [and] Honduras tomorrow,” Nix said.
She explained that the need and interest is there, but they’ve lacked the funding to help.
The husband and wife duo says that no matter what happens, they have strengthened confidence for future projects.
“It was very, very nice to see the people understand and believe in human connection and believe in human kindness,” Cortez said.
The couple said that when they created the piece, they were hoping the simple idea that everyone is connected would be well-accepted.
“How beautiful to take such a seemingly simple idea, but then turn it in to such a complex, overall-reaching feeling, which is what art is supposed to be about,” Steve Barber said in response to the artwork.