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/// ARTPRIZE


TopPrize I


n 2010 you won ArtPrize with your large- scale drawing, “Cavalry, American Officers, 1921.” What’s life been like since then? It’s been an education in a lot of ways. Before last year’s ArtPrize, when opportunity would come up, I would say yes. But since then, it’s been more of which opportunity do I want to do


and which would be beneficial and learning how to say no.


How has winning ArtPrize impacted you? More opportunities on many levels. Artistically, I have a lot more license to do things that I want to do and a lot more choices in life. Being able to travel a lot more and think about things further into the future than I had before.


What did you do with your prize money? Do I have to answer that? Paid off some debts, did some investing and some traveling. I invested back into my artwork.


Did you deserve to win, Chris? [Laughs] It’s not up to me. I don’t know if I really have an answer to that. It’s a collective decision.


“I don’t think there is a linear relationship between quality of art and the amount of time that goes into it.”—CHRIS LAPORTE


How about based on the amount of effort put into your piece? I don’t think there is a linear relationship between quality of art and the amount of time that goes into it.


46 | REVUEWM.COM | SEPTEMBER 2011


Questions for Chris LaPorte, ArtPrize 2010 Winner


If it wasn’t you, who should the winner have been? I don’t know, I mean there were so many wonderful pieces and honestly I wasn’t able to get around like I had planned to, to see many of the works of art. I was spending most of my time in front of the piece [Cavalry] trying to answer questions and meet people.


Yes, you won $250,000, but what was the worst part of having such a high profile in ArtPrize? Frankly it’s … I’m not especially comfortable with the atten- tion. Part of why I think I chose being an individual artist is that you make a thing and all eyes are on it. It was kind of ironic that it brought so much attention to me and people wanted to know what I thought. It was uncomfortable.


What is ArtPrize’s biggest downfall? I wouldn’t call it a downfall, but I would say maybe negative is that there is a tendency for people to gravitate toward things that they have been told are interesting to see … I’m certainly grateful that people chose to wait in line to see Cavalry.


Why have you decided to compete in ArtPrize again, with a very similar entry to what you did last year? It’s actually not very similar. It will be a pencil drawing but on a much smaller scale. I chose to


participate partly because I will be in a location that is partly off the beaten path. It goes back to what I said previously, to hopefully have people discover something for themselves. I think that’s the best part of ArtPrize… when people open themselves up to something they didn’t know about and question their assumptions.


CHRIS LaPORTE stands in front of his winning entry, “Cavalry, American Officers, 1921.” The drawing was displayed at the


Grand Rapids Art Museum until August. PHOTO: COURTESY OF GRAM


Do you think that as a previous ArtPrize winner you have an increased or decreased chance at voter popularity this year? I would guess there would be an increase. I mean, you’re interviewing me right now about that. Not every artist has that opportunity. I guess that’s just the way it is.


Why did you enter ArtPrize again? Do you think you have a shot at winning a second time? No, I don’t. That’s not my ambition. My idea is to participate and also, I guess, being in a location that, for the past two years, has been wonderful and hasn’t seen the numbers that other venues have. I think the attention that I might possibly bring to Cathedral Square would be a really good thing and would just help people move around. n


Interview conducted by Kelli Kolakowski. Condensed and edited by Lindsay Patton-Carson. Top photo by Brian Kelly, courtesy of ArtPrize.


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