GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Felipe Gomez was excited when he learned that he was selected as an artist for ArtPrize, but he had to figure out how he was going to get his piece from Austin, Texas to Grand Rapids, Michigan.
After months of working on his piece, Perfect Imperfections, Gomez had a choice. Either ship the art made from wood off with someone else or have his own adventure. He decided to build his own crate and strap the 50- to 70-pound piece to the top of his Honda CR-V and drive 48 hours.
“I was like, ‘OK, I think I can do this. I’m just going to strap it to my roof and it will be alright,'” Gomez said.
He had a couple pit stops along the way, but finally he made it to Monroe Community Church for Gomez’s first year at ArtPrize.
“It was scary. But then at the end of the trip, I felt good,” Gomez said. “I was mostly happy that the piece was intact.”
His art made it on a cross-country road trip and Gomez said this particular piece was an homage to all of the women in his life and across the world.
“Without this feminine love of caring and nourishing and being there, I wouldn’t have been the person that I am today, and I wanted to honor that. Because without this in the world, we wouldn’t be anything,” Gomez said.
Perfect Imperfections is just one of the pieces in his collection titled, “Female Divine.” He said that collection honors feminine energy and grace. The piece that he brought to ArtPrize also shows a message of unity.
“I wanted to embody the fact that none of us are perfect, but we are so beautiful deep inside, and that’s because of our imperfections of our experiences. Everything that we have seen in life makes us who we are,” Gomez said.
The artist is originally from Colombia and currently lives in Austin, Texas. Gomez said he has been creating art since he was young, but only started working professionally a couple of years ago. He was working at a job in finance and decided that it was not for him.
“I have one life. It’s so short. I’m not happy doing this right now. I need to change it. So I quit. I built my art studio in my garage,” Gomez said.
He now has multiple public art installations in Texas — paintings and wood pieces. Gomez said he draws inspiration from nature and technology in each piece.
Now that his journey to Grand Rapids is over, Gomez said on his return trip, he will most likely use a company to get the piece back home. However, he does not regret the experience he had these past couple of days.
“Just take risks. Being an artist is taking big risks and going for it,” Gomez said.