More international artists participating in ArtPrize

"Anmut (Grace)" by Silvia Schmitt is in the J.W. Marriott. (Sept. 24, 2015)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The number of international artists competing in ArtPrize has increased by 38 percent this year.

ArtPrize officials said there are 129 artists participating this year from all over the world and there’s a reason for the increase.

“There are a lot of international artists this year compared to previous years. ArtPrize is getting more and more well-known around the world so artists are coming from everywhere. Obviously it’s a bigger challenge to get a project here from further away so that accounts for the relatively low numbers. Part of the reason that there is so many more this year is because Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Their exhibition is 25 artists, all from Japan and it’s only 25, but with the sort of scale of numbers that we’re dealing with, it gives it a big boost,” said Kevin Buist, the Exhibitions Director.

Silvia Schmitt is an artist from Germany who entered her piece, “Anmut (Grace)” into the competition this year. She had difficulty getting her piece to Grand Rapids for the start of the event.

“It was quite difficult and it took quite a while until I found out how I could transport it. I was already looking forward to the contest, but then they told me it was on hold. I did not know until two days before the show that if my artwork would arrive in time. I was really afraid and almost gave up hope that I would be part of this great event,” Schmitt said.

She entered the 2-D pencil portrait that was inspired by Femi Taylor, the actress who played Oola in Star Wars Return of the Jedi. (VOTE NUMBER: 61291)

“I’ve already portrait her as the character, Oola, and she saw the post on Facebook and we started emailing.  I got to know her and I learned she’s not only a wonderful, beautiful woman, but also warm-hearted. She inspired me to draw her again without a costume, only showing her beauty and wonderful personality,” Schmitt told 24 Hour News 8.

Schmitt has only been drawing professionally for one year and found the competition online.

“I looked for art contests on Google, and was lucky to find the ArtPrize. It’s so phenomenal and I wanted to be a part of this huge event. It is very exciting to participate in ArtPrize especially since it’s in the U.S.A. I love U.S.A. since I was a child. It’s really special to me, especially since I’m a beginner with art,” she said.

She hopes people are moved by her drawing.

“Since I am doing photorealism, of course, I am hoping that they are somehow impressed and think ‘wow this is really a drawing and not a photo.’ It would be great if I could stay in people’s minds and they would think about me some weeks later,” said Schmitt.

She also hopes she can help inspire others with her artwork.

“Last year, I started like a new life. I was not satisfied with my job and was very ill for a long time and because of that, I want to encourage other people to follow their dreams and to enjoy every day.  I hope I will be successful sometime so I can help other people who are in need,” Schmitt said.

Her piece is in the J.W. Marriott.

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