ArtPrize winners: Back to the basics with Chris LaPorte

Cavalry, American Officers, 1921
"Cavalry, American Officers, 1921" won the grand prize during ArtPrize 2010. The seven-panel drawing took 800 hours and 80 pencils to complete.(Photo credit: ArtPrize)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD)— Pencil, paper, skill and a lot of time is what it took for Bay City native Chris LaPorte to capture the top prize during the 2010 ArtPrize competition.

“Cavalry, American Officers, 1921” left Grand Rapids Art Museum visitors in awe.

LaPorte went through approximately 80 pencils during the 800 hours it took him to create the seven-panel masterpiece.

He used a projector to rough out the initial image, transforming it into the $250,000 prize winner over 8.5 months.

With changes made to the competition after the inaugural year, LaPorte’s winning drawing became the property of ArtPrize.

The piece remained at the GRAM until Dec. 13, 2010, when it was moved to LaPorte’s alma mater, Aquinas College, on long term loan.

“Cavalry, American Officers, 1921” still hangs today in the Hauenstein Library.

Meanwhile LaPorte continues to enter many art exhibitions in Michigan and New York City.

He’s had three other pencil drawings in ArtPrize over the years, including “City Band,” which took 10th place in the 2012 competition.

On his website, LaPorte said he’s drawn nearly 100,000 people over the last two decades.

He said the portraits have paid for his education, travel and fine arts studio.

LaPorte has also taught drawing colleges and universities in New York City and Michigan, including Aquinas.

Chris LaPorte Portraits-