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ArtPrize 2013: Jim Wilde brings an inspired landscape to ArtPrize

Wilde joins the conversation with a 3-tiered tabletop fountain, complete with waterfall and a motor that turns the art.
Jim Wilde, hand-painted tabletop fountain featuring scenes from Venice

Jim Wilde, hand-painted tabletop fountain featuring scenes from Venice /Jim Wilde

Jim Wilde

Jim Wilde /Jim Wilde


Jim Wilde’s contribution to ArtPrize 2013 is a three-tiered tabletop "Fountain" painted with a landscape he admired while traveling in Italy.  Resembling traditional Italian Medici wares, Wilde’s piece is featured in the Paul Collins Gallery on the fourth floor of the Main Building of Grand Rapids Community College, clearly visible through the gallery's glass even when the gallery is closed.

A second-time participant of ArtPrize, Wilde appreciates the opportunity to have people see and comment on his work. He is inspired by viewers and expresses their reactions with a generosity of spirit. “When a kid walking the mall with his mom and sister stops and gives you the thumbs up, or when a Girl Scout troop is watching you create and says, ‘Wow, he really is an artist!’, that is my reward.”

One of Wilde’s favorite pieces is on display at Your Plate or Mine, a pottery shop in the Muskegon Mall where he often paints. Deeply moved by people’s response to his work, Wilde recounts a man’s reaction to a painting of Jesus. Apparently, the man had a near death experience and related to Wilde the story of how he saw Christ when he was, for a moment, clinically dead. Looking at Wilde's work, the man said: "That is the face of Jesus.”

Another highlight is a piece commissioned as an anniversary gift. Wilde says, “My creation will be in their home and carried down as an heirloom.”

Jim Wilde’s love for art started in the fifth grade. He recalls, “The only time I was sent to the principal’s office was when one of my teachers complained that I was getting behind in class because I spent too much time drawing.” Inspired by his classmates’ approval he continued to draw. Wilde studied graphic design in high school, which helped prepare him for a career in sign making, but he has no other formal art training. Currently his favorite medium is painting landscapes on ceramics.

Wilde, owner of Wilde Signs, lives in Muskegon with his supportive wife and daughters, and a lot of artwork. He plans to retire in the next ten years and continue to paint and play guitar in his church choir.  When asked what was left on his bucket list he claimed, “ I am living the bucket list, living the dream.”


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