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Artist reflects on ArtPrize experience

Alberto March reflects back on his experience at this year's ArtPrize.
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ArtPrize Information

To get more information about ArtPrize 2011 venues, art and artist, visit the ArtPrize website.

"Giants of Chicago"

"Giants of Chicago" /Morgan Miller

ArtPrize ended almost a month ago. The monkeys are off the Blue Bridge, Rusty the dog went back to his rusty dog house and most venues have restored their businesses free from ArtPrize artwork.

But the memories of this year's Artpize still hang in the artists' minds- even the disappointing ones.

Alberto March submitted his piece to ArtPrize just two days before the deadline.

"I was crossing my fingers," March said about his late submission. "Two days before the deadline, you get nervous."

Originally from Spain, March ditched the windy streets of Chicago to display his artwork in Grand Rapids, still bringing a piece of his city with him. His submission "Giants of Chicago" was made up of 14 canvases of 2-D digital art representing iconic Chicago buildings. He took six pictures for each canvas. He then added layers and filters with Photoshop to spice up the pictures with neon colors. Each canvas took ten to twelve hours to make and the series overall took six months to complete.

"Everyone has seen the Chicago skyline," said March, "but I took pictures of individual buildings, adding fiction and reality to each one."

March's love for architecture inspired him to create "Giants of Chicago," saying that it helps "create an interesting skyline." The Flatiron Building in New York City "gave him that opportunity to take a building out of its surroundings and create a fantasy."

"What's cool about my job is that I don't have to speak. My art can make a statement."

His work didn't make it to the Top 10 like plenty of other talented pieces of art, but March still walked away with a sense of accomplishment.

"Interacting with people who really enjoyed my work was a rich experience," March said. "This gave me the authentication that my work actually touched people emotionally and physically, which made me feel great."

Although March was grateful for the experiences, he thinks ArtPrize has room to improve to benefit the artist more. He believes venues should contribute more to promote the artist and their work.

"I felt as though I had to invest a large extra cash flow to market and bring people to the venue," March said.

Pedestrians who walked passed Hopcat received postcards that showed the bright colors of "Giants of Chicago." Admirers were able to go into Hopcat and meet March, who stood on the upper level to sign autographs. March handed out a total of 2,800 postcards.

March isn't the first person to express a little criticism about the competition's venues. Reporters, bloggers and ArtPrize goers feel that not all venues are treated the same. Work displayed inside or outside the B.O.B. and the Grand Rapids Art Museum draws more people than little venues like Hopcat.

"A 50-50 partnership with the artist and ArtPrize should be involved as part of the main core of the event," March said.

It's just another case to add to today's entertainment industry. If you have a good publicist- or in ArtPrize terms, a venue- more people will know your name. If you don't, you tend to go unnoticed. Many talented musicians, actors and artists don't get the same opportunity to beat out their competitors, even if they have more talent.

March owns his own graphic design company, GrafMarc. He has 25 years of graphic design experience and has won national and international awards such as the Silver Davey Award in print and logo, Communicators Award in print and poster, Summit Creative Award in PSA logo and in consumer magazine advertising and a FLEXY Award in graphic design print.

Sometimes the most beautiful artwork goes unnoticed because of venue, but at least March walked away knowing his artwork touched his admirers in Grand Rapids.

March is selling "Giants of Chicago on his website.

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