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JUSTIN GAFFREY ENTRY: “Sunflowers in Red”


While ArtPrize may largely feature local talent, the com- petition prides itself on being a catalyst for artists on a global scale. These are just a few of the artists who have traveled from thousands of miles away to take part in the world’s largest art prize.

MAGDA SAYEG ENTRY: “Untitled” (2-D Yarn)

VENUE: CityFlats Hotel

began her quest to knit graffiti and spearhead the international yarn bombing movement. After a moment of admittedly selfish pursuit, Sayeg’s world started to change, color by color. “Knitting is what I stared at


all day when I owned my boutique,” Sayeg said. “I was staring at this gray facade and I wanted to see something colorful. I put knitting on the door handle and what I didn’t expect was the positive reaction I got from people. I thought it was interesting and thought maybe I could do it outside my shop. My first project was a stop sign pole. People got out of their cars and took pictures and some stopped and scratched their heads.” Though a stray from knit graffiti, Sayeg’s ArtPrize entry will incorporate something she and the

city of Grand Rapids fell in love with: furniture. Using the image of a red Eames LCW chair (which she owns), Sayeg will merge photo with yarn by pixilating the image and matching it with yarn, then turning each pixilation into a granny square. “I wanted to do something that would be representative of Michigan, of Grand Rapids – and how

much better than to use a piece of furniture that I actually have and love?” she said. More of a canvas piece than her previous work, Sayeg has enjoyed doing something different. “I think ArtPrize deserves something that goes beyond yarn bombing,” she said. “I think I’ve done something like 500 stop sign poles. I think that’s enough for one lifetime.”

ustin, Texas-based artist Magda Sayeg founded KnittaPlease in 2005, which


VENUE: Mercantile Bank of West Michigan at 48 West Fulton A

rtist and digital photography professor Terry Chatkupt took on a new endeavor for his ArtPrize 2011 entry, “Transferase.” The Los Angeles, Cali.-based artist credits a combination of a post-wildfire California sky and an old film that took place on Wilshire Boulevard as influencers to the making

of his apocalyptic-esque digital video. “The wildfires that happen out here turn the sky a creepy beautiful color and I went around and

took photos while they were going on,” Chatkupt said. “The vibe was scary but interesting and I started thinking about what would happen in the future in L.A. I started thinking about this film I had seen in high school. It took place on Wilshire Boulevard and that’s where I was driving. I re-watched the film and I was inspired by a scene in the diner where the main guy gets a call ... I based my film off that scene.” The nine-minute, 17-second video features a protagonist, his love interest and a diner manager.

Though Chatkupt has never used a full cast and crew for one of his videos, he is curious to show his latest work during ArtPrize. “I thought it would be interest-

ing to show the film outside the context of L.A. to see if it would pro- duce a similar or different reaction,” he said. “The main theme behind the film is anxiety. It’s interesting living in this post-9/11 world ... the biggest pre-cursor to anxiety I can think of is the economy. In my film you don’t know what the phone call is about but you know it [deals with] anxiety.”

VENUE: Diversions Nightclub

museum that Gaffrey’s future suddenly changed. “Being that I had no painting training at all, I started off very primitive, in a southern folk art style,”


Gaffrey said. “I got bored. Then I was in a museum looking at a Van Gogh and I had an epiphany. I saw that combination of a thousand tiny brushstrokes and I went home and started to paint.” Turning to heavy impasto acrylics and the Impressionist style, Gaffrey began using palette knives

to create his greatly textured, colorful works. Painting anything from nests and butterflies to seascapes and flowers, Gaffrey’s sculpture-like paintings practically jump off the canvas, begging to be touched. For his first ArtPrize entry,

Gaffrey will pay tribute to the start of his career as an artist, with “Sunflowers in Red,” a piece that memorializes his journey. “The sunflower was what

started my painting,” he said. “The reason why the sunflowers have become so popular was because it was the first thing I painted after I came home from the museum … I was inspired by Van Gogh.”

fter a successful 12-year career as a chef, Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.-based artist Justin Gaffrey decided to sell his restaurant and find a way to make it in the art world. He gave himself a timeline of three to four years in which he would teach himself how to paint, but it was during a trip to a




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