KCAD Alumni Earn Place in Top 25 of ArtPrize 2023

Posted September 25, 2023 in Alumni, Graphic Design, ArtPrize, Studio Arts

The Grand Rapids-based international art competition ArtPrize has announced the Top 25 entries that have earned a chance to compete for First Place and the $125,000 Public Vote Grand Prize for 2023, including two created by KCAD alumni. 

Bryce Culverhouse ('72, Advertising Design) and Christopher Shields ('98, BFA Fine Arts) each recieved enough public votes over the week-long Round 1 voting period for their respective entries to land in the Top 25. ArtPrize voters now have the chance to cast one vote for the Top 25 entry they feel is most deserving of the Grand Prize, with Round 2 voting open through 11:59pm on September 28.

KCAD is playing a leading role in ArtPrize 2023 as part of the new public-private partnership powering the prestigious competition alongside the city of Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. The college is hosting exhibits and celebrating student, faculty, staff and alumni contributions throughout the event, which runs through Sunday, October. 1.

Culverhouse, who passed away earlier this month, affirms a lasting legacy of creativity, connection, and activism with his "Black History Series," on view at the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives. Following a career as a graphic designer, art director, and creative director, he began blending history, fine art typography, and advocacy into a deeply connective creative practice. Using typography as brush strokes, he created unqiue portraits of transformative historical figures composed entirely of their most famous words and stories, both captivating viewers from a distance and invitingthem in close to explore the stirring narratives within.A portrait of black activist angela david composed entirely of typographyA portrait of Angela Davis from the "Black History Series" by KCAD alumnus Bryce Culverhouse (image courtesy of the artist)

Culverhouse's tremendous passion for connecting with people through his art was evident in the way he carried it out into the world. He was a proud participant in multiple ArtPrize events, where he reveled in the opportunity to spark inspiration and dialogue with his creativity. And while his work has been featured in group, solo, and juried exhibitions throughout the United States and won numerous awards, it is most distinguished by its power to reflect the best of humanity back at the viewer, and to remind us that the capacity to create change lies within us all.

Shields' Top 25 entry "Technophobia"—a beautifully rendered and hauntingly fragmented oil painting on view at The Morton—explores human identity and creativity in the age of artificial intelligence. The Grand Rapids-based artist explores themes of inclusion, desire, authenticity, and queer identity in a creative practice that spans—and often blurs the lines between—multiple mediums, including digital manipulation of analog paintings and drawings. After graduating from KCAD, Shields has gone on to exhibit his work nationally and internationally, and has also taught art in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Detroit.

A painting of a man with black hairt and a thin black beard pulling at his face"Technophobia" by KCAD alumnus Christopher Shields (image courtesy of the artist)

"Technophobia" stemmed from Sheilds' experiments feeding his own work into an AI image generator, where he manipulated the results to achieve his desired effect before manually recreating the final image as a large-scale oil painting. The final piece stands powerfully as both a stirring confrontation of the ethical implications of AI's rapid intrusion into the world of fine art and a reflection of the ever-present tension members of the LGBTQ+ community face living in a society that simultaneously affirms and condemns them.

The winners of ArtPrize 2023 will be announced at a public awards ceremony at 6:00 pm on Friday, October 29 at Rosa Parks Cirlce in downtown Grand Rapids. For more information, visit artprize.org

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