I mean, things have happened this month. Zane started Boy Scouts again and the Katrina and Houston started going to Fifty6 and The Element (the middle school church groups) again. There were tests and there was homework and we even managed to squeeze in a pizza-movie night (though, to be honest, i think that we actually started eating at about 8:00). Juanito and Katrina managed to paint Katrina's bike, which was THRILLING (for Katrina).
But honestly, our life has been pretty dominated by ArtPrize for the past month.
First, Juanito was spending every single minute he could find working on his piece. He lost sleep and skipped fun family outings and gave up spending time doing anything else so that he could get it finished in time. He not only drew his picture, but he also built the frame for it. (And a stool. Because: procrastination.) But he finished it on time, and it was fantastic.
Since he was an artist this year, Juanito tried to sit by his art when he could, so he spent quite a few hours there. I think that he probably didn't spend as many hours at his piece as he expected to, though, because ArtPrize is addicting, and he kept wanting to walk around and see the rest of the art out there. He took off work a couple of days, skipped Zumba on the first day of ArtPrize, and spent as much free time as he could downtown.
My dad picked up my grandpa and brought him downtown, where my mom and my sister Jackie and i joined him. We walked around and looked at art, obviously stopping in at Panera to visit Juanito and let everyone see his drawing. It was my grandpa's first time at ArtPrize, and i think that he really enjoyed it. Yay!
Juanito's mom and his his brother JJ came up to visit for several days, to see Juanito's art (and the rest of ArtPrize). We took them around to see as much art as they could stand, but i think they were both pretty finished with ever seeing art again by the time that they left.
The kids went along and saw a LOT of the art, but they're not quite as obsessive about it as we adults are. Zane, especially, was just not interested in spending a lot of time at ArtPrize, and was pretty quick to want to be done. Houston enjoyed being there when he was downtown, but he generally chose to not go if he was allowed to make the choice. The amazing thing, this year, is that Houston is 13, and we can totally leave the kids home alone.
Katrina, on the other hand, came with us downtown several times while the boys stayed home. I'm not sure if she was just happy to be the only kid with the adults, where she got lots of attention and didn't have to deal with brothers, or if she just really liked looking at art, but i suspect it was a bit of both. She was awesome to walk around with, and ended up being my partner when we split up into smaller groups in the big venues. We were generally interested in the same things, so we'd just barely glance at some stuff, and then stand and look for a long time at other things...and almost always, we were standing and studying the same things. It made for a fun experience.
Both Houston and Katrina (and, a little bit, Zane) have really interesting observations about the art that we see. When the artist is around, they ask really good questions. And they tend to be drawn to the same stuff i'm drawn to. Not necessarily the "best" art and almost certainly not the most "deep" and "meaningful" art with long artist statements that only other artists understand, but also not only the giant, "shiny" art that Artists are so disdainful of.
I volunteered at ArtPrize this year, and worked 5 shifts. I did all different things - i registered people and stood by art yelling, "DON'T TOUCH THAT!" and put together signs.
And we walked around and drove around and walked some more and just looked and looked and looked at art. And there were great and good and okay and terrible artworks. Beth and i both somehow managed to go to every single venue.
The very first day, i told Beth and Juanito that i just wasn't as impressed this year by a lot of the art as previous years. And then i decided to stop being whiny and give it a chance. And i think i did. And i just looked back at all of the pictures i took for the past three weeks, and...i think i wasn't impressed this year as i was in some of the other years. There were a lot of things i liked, and some things i really liked, but there wasn't very much that i LOVED. When the finalists were announced, i was annoyed. And when the winners were announced, i was even more annoyed. (I never even took a single picture of the winning public vote piece, because i just Did. Not. Like. It. And the winning juried piece was just ridiculous.)
And so, here are MY votes for the top 25. (I get to make my own rules, so i'll keep their four categories, but i'm allowed to put as many into each category as i want. Because i CAN.) These are the ones that made me happy or sad or just really captivated. These are the ones that i kept wanting to go back to to look at them one more time.
Karen's completely subjective and probably totally un-artsy choices that would make the jurors swoon with disdain list of favorites:
I mean, OBVIOUSLY.
(I am now removing Juanito's picture from my competition, because otherwise he would CLEARLY win.)
I just think that this one is lovely.
Something about this just draws me in and makes me want to keep looking at it.
This one actually was in the top five - the only one on my list that was. I think that it's just really emotional even without any of the story, but then once you know the story behind it, it's even more powerful.
Y'know what? This just makes me smile. Loads and loads of artists paint people without clothes, but this is the first time i've seen clothes without their people.
Beth and Keren and Katrina and i all stood in front of this one for ages, looking for our favorites. It's 100 women that she's drawn on cancelled checks, and i just really, really like it.
I LOVE this, and i just don't even understand how it WASN'T in the top 20. It's a giant wall of 22 women from different countries around the world. They're beautiful.
Okay, so this is both just kind of clever and funny, and also really well done. The "Sky Jack" and "Pair of Jacks" are especially beautiful.
Honestly, i just saw this for the first time yesterday - i somehow missed it the first time - and so maybe i won't like it as much in a few weeks, but i think it's clever and really cool.
Tiny things. Beth, Juanito, and i stood and looked and looked at these and kept pointing out new ones to each other. They're adorable.
From the first time i saw these, i was completely impressed. They're four pieces and they're all quilted, and they're amazing. I just can't get over how well done they are.
Honestly, i think that i liked this artist's entry better last year. But last year he was in a tiny venue, and not many people saw it, and i'm really glad that he won his category this year.
This was my first choice for 3D. It's all made out of screen, and it's amazing.
This just makes me smile. It's pretty and delicate and whimsical.
There was a lot of Japanese pottery at Meijer Gardens this year, and it was mostly really, really beautiful. This was my favorite piece there, though.
Okay, i just think these are cute. And my kids liked them. And they're fun.
I contend that this is an installation, but they listed it as 3-D, so, fine. Beth and i just stood and looked at this one for ages. It's the last meal of 600 different people who were given the death sentence in America. And it's SO sad.
These are just pretty.
Also just pretty and creative and well-done.
I loved Melondy.
So these were little swirls of paint that was poured and then scraped up, and i can't explain why i liked them, but i did.
This is just beautiful. And really interesting from every angle.
I want to own this and put it in my house and curl up in it and read and draw and cuddle.
The more that i looked at this, the more that i liked it.
This is the only one i really liked from this category. It was interesting and different and the kids loved it.
This was the first thing that i loved, and every time i saw it (many times), i was impressed again. It's just so, so good. (My choice may change a dozen times over the next year, though.)