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ArtPrize 2017 top 20 finalist "Lux Maximus" interview with the artist

"They said it couldn't be done, so I did it," states "Lux Maximus" creator Daniel Oropeza of his signature process of fusing glass with metal to create sculptures that are partially translucent.
"Lux Maximus," sculpture blending metal and glass

"Lux Maximus," sculpture blending metal and glass /Dem Ductions

Underwriting support from:

ArtPrize Nine Top 20 Public Vote Finalists


The Two-Dimensional Public Vote Award is presented by Foremost Insurance.

  • Crowns of Courage by Amanda Gilbert, David Burgess and Steven Stone at DeVos Place Convention Center (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Team Spirit by Anni Crouter at Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum (Flint, MI)
  • Life, Death and Transformation by Frits Hoendervanger at The B.O.B. (Detroit, MI)
  • 9/11 by Mher Khachatryan at Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum (Fort Lee, NJ)
  • A. Lincoln by Richard Schlatter at Amway Grand Plaza (Battle Creek, MI)


The Three-Dimensional Public Vote Award is presented by Edward Jones.


The Installation Public Vote Award is presented by Amway.


The Time-Based Public Vote Award is presented by DTE Energy Foundation.

  • Red Dirt Rug Monument by Rena Detrixhe at Western Michigan University - Grand Rapids (Tulsa, OK)
  • broke(n)hunger by Kyd Kane at Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) (Wyoming, MI)
  • Object-Orientalis by Eva Rocha at The Fed Galleries @ KCAD, Kendall College of Art and Design (San Paulo, Brazil)
  • Monsters Go by Aaron Zenz at Grand Rapids Children's Museum (Spring Lake, MI)
  • Midtown Flutter by Yuge Zhou at Grand Rapids Art Museum (Chicago, IL)
Artist Daniel Oropeza with his ArtPrize 9 entry "Lux Maximus"

Artist Daniel Oropeza with his ArtPrize 9 entry "Lux Maximus" /Dem Ductions

"Lux Maximus"

"Lux Maximus" /Dem Ductions

ArtPrize juxtaposes expert juror selection with what moves and inspires people whose personal exploration of artistic expression may not have extended beyond crayons and coloring books, rewarding artists that touch the hearts and ignite the imagination of each of these disparate audiences. One piece that embodies this uniting of contrasting materials is Top 20 Finalist “Lux Maximus," created by artist Daniel Oropeza.

Lux Maxiums," or Maximum Light in Latin, is a sculpture of a horse in motion that is created from copper and glass ornately fused together and lit from the inside.

“I developed this process eight years ago,” states Oropeza, who terms it “translucent classical sculpture." “I was able to fuse glass to steel. They said it couldn’t be done, so I did it. Then after selling a few pieces with steel and glass fused together I started working with copper, which I found to be much easier.”

Oropeza states that he created this piece specifically for ArtPrize, spending 1570 hours over the course of a year to do so. Oropeza, a resident of Costa Mesa, CA, was encouraged by ArtPrize 2011 winner Mia Tavonatti, creator of the mosaic piece “Crucifixion”, to enter a piece into ArtPrize. “She said, ‘Danny, you should let people see your work.’ So I thought I’d do it,” recalls Oropeza.

Oropeza explained that his inspiration for the piece was more to explore the media rather than the subject more deeply. “I think inspiration comes out of curiosity. So, my curiosity came out of boredom because I was already working with metal. So I really wasn’t inspired to do this, even though I’ve had horses my whole life—I know them in and out—but I wanted to bring something different to metal.”

However, he highlights the requisite for artists to seek after beauty when exploring and pushing the boundaries of their craft. “I need to do something that’s beautiful. With that beauty, I want my process. If it wasn’t beautiful, I’d give up the process.”

Oropeza, a professor at a school of art, gives the following advice: “I would like students especially to know that they need to develop their curiosity, and their curiosity will lead them to progress, and their progress will lead them to passion. You don’t just jump into passion.”

Lux Maximus” is installed along the banks of the Grand River near the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

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