Kayleen Horsma, a Menahga stay-at-home wife and mother of six, is one of four Minnesota artists competing in the second annual ArtPrize contest in Grand Rapids, MI.
In this contest unique to the art world,founded by Amway heir Rick DeVos, entries are judged "American-idol"-style by the voting public with cash prizes totaling over $449,000. The grand prize winner will receive $250,000. 1,712 artists from 44 different states and 21 countries will be displaying their entry at 192 different hosting venues in Grand Rapids from Wednesday, September 22, through Sunday, October 10. Kayleen knows there is plenty of talent in the competition, so winning something would be a great honor and an added bonus.
The contest, should provide broader exposure for Kayleen's painting titled "The Right Stuff". "I am going there for the experience, education, and to gain connections in the hope of winning a larger following or sales of my artworks," she says.
Kayleen says she began composing "The Right Stuff" last October , then painting from February to the beginning of this month, painting spending about 40 hours or more a week on it. That's roughly 1,800-plus hours.
"The Right Stuff" depicts a gallery setting with two men and a woman in the foreground with Norman Rockwell paintings on the gallery walls in the background as well as "browsers." The four Norman Rockwell paintings in the background of Kayleen's painting are, from left to right, "No Swimming," "Strictly A Sharpshooter," "100th Yr of Baseball" and "The Flirts."
After the debut of the ArtPrize contest, critics voiced concern over whether the concept of the general public vote would have a negative impact on the artworld. Norman Rockwell has also been snubbed by the critics , was his work was art or illustration? ....Evoking the question of whether an artwork has to have "the right stuff", leading Kayleen to the title. It is a tribute piece to Norman Rockwell and in keeping with the contest's unique format of allowing the general public to decide what good art is.
Kayleen's 5-foot-square oil painting, which also honors the style and flair of artist Malcom Liepke, may be an excellent representative of one of the contest's main goals - bringing artists and the general public together to exchange ideas and experience positive change.
"Discovering Malcolm's work was like giving me a breath of fresh air - something I fell instantly in love with and has inspired me to work harder ..." Her goal is to paint simple strokes in which each are most effective and emphasized by the intentions of chiaroscuro. Using the strong contrasts of light and shadow to highlight the essence of its focal point resulting in loose but believable oil paintings."
As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, many who look upon her ArtPrize entry may see it as truly "The Right Stuff."
To successfully enter the ArtPrize contest, artists must first register and then make a connection with an accepted Grand Rapids venue, which could include a gallery, a museum, or even a restaurant. If the venue agrees to host the artists' work, they're in. Kayleen said about 500 artists who tried to find a venue for this years contest are not being hosted.
Those who wish to vote on the artwork must register in person using legal I.D. Last year more than 37,000 people voted online or by text message for their favorite ArtPrize entry.
Kayleen's painting is being hosted by Grand Valley Artists at Altens Place in downtown Grand Rapids. She says she is "fortunate to be able to stay with the President of the gallery" during the 19-day contest.
Though she has no formal training, she feels fortunate to have a strong mentor in Dorset, artist Ray Wattenhofer (www.raymondwattenhofer.com).
Other 2010 showings of Kayleen's artwork include 2010 Artfair at Devos in Grand Rapids, 2010 New York Mills Regional Cultural Center, 2010 Vertin Gallery in Calumet, MI, and 2010 APW Gallery in New York, NY. Her artwork was also recently accepted by Ugallery, based in San Franciso, CA, as well as New York, NY. , U gallery exhibits at 3 to 4 physical shows and also their online gallery
Kayleen and her husband, Jay, operate Chet's pumping septic service. She is really looking forward to the contest coming up in Grand Rapids, but this stay-at-home mother knows she will miss her family dearly during the nearly three weeks she is gone. "I will miss them very much ...I have never been away this long and it is difficult to think of. I am sure the time will fly by though as I will be busy at the show." She's confident, though, that her oldest child, Rachael, a 2010 Menahga High School graduate, will be "a big help when I am gone."
Two quick ways to check out entries and artists before the contest is to visit the ArtPrize web site (www.artprize.org) and iPhone app. The top 10 entries will be announced Thursday, September 30, and the grand prize winner will be announced Thursday, October 7.
Before she goes, though, folks can still see Kayleen and her ArtPrize entry painting, "The Right Stuff," at the Good Life Cafe in Park Rapids from 5 to 7 pm. Thursday, September 16. Her brother, Phil Ylitalo owner of Heartland Monuments, will be playing his banjo starting at 5:30. Park Rapids is holding its third month of Third Thursday Art Walks.
You can also get a sneak peak and follow along by visiting the following links Http://www.artprize.org/artists/public-profile/42205 or HTTP://khorsma.blogspot.com.