GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Many artists taking part in ArtPrize 2012 are new to the contest and are trying to make a big impression.
They're here to show their work, but we asked artists to tell us about the pieces too, in 15 seconds or less. Some of these artists have spent more than a year or two perfecting their work, so to sum up the meaning in 15 seconds wasn't easy for them, but it creates a starting point for understanding the art.
Kelly O'Brien spent 600 hours and used 8,000 flower petals to get her piece in perfect form, then had to anxiously wait for it to arrive from her home in Germany.
The artist, formally of Washington D.C. says her piece, "Shades of Gray" has nothing to do with the book, '50 Shades of Grey.'
"I'm a classically trained dancer, so I draw a lot of ideas from the ballet and this piece is inspired by Swan Lake, and the characters of Odette, who's the white swan, and Odile, who is the black swan. And I'm exploring the idea of black and white, good and bad, light and dark in human nature."
Her piece is at the Amway Grand Hotel.
Michigan artist Paul Nilsson has lots of penguins on display in the fountain outside the Gerald R. Ford Museum. His piece is called "Penguin Project."
"I was inspired by March of the Penguins, the National Geographic film, and it details the incredible survival tactics that is encountered by the last tribe of Antarctica which are the penguins, the emperor penguins," explained Nilsson.
Andrew Kline of Wyoming designed "Proud Flesh," which is also in front of Ford Museum.
"The term 'Proud Flesh' is a medical term, and it's a term that describes a scar that's raised and a little bit darker than the rest of the skin. So I'm drawing a connection between the welds and a scar you might find on someone's body," said Kline.
Michigan artist Thomas Muller created "Primary Emergence," which is on display next to the Grand River in front of the Ford Presidential Museum.
"It's [an] eclectic sculpture. It's made out of different materials, it has many religious symbols incorporated into it, it's lit at night, it's very bright, and I think you will enjoy it," explained Muller.
Stanley Skopek's "Meadow Winds" is on display inside the Ford Presidential Museum. It's made with old brass instruments and doorknobs.
"I'm an architect and I like taking existing objects, the lost and forgotten pieces, and putting them together to create an art sculpture, this being dragon flies and ladybugs," said the Athens artist.
And if you like wine with your jazz, Grand Rapids artist Debbie Senecal has it falling from trees.
"Inspired by my love of wine and vineyards, I chose to show all of the colors of wine from the whitest whites to the deepest reds, and my crystals are my wine pouring out of my bottles," she said.
Her piece is "If Wine Grew on Trees", and is showing in the lobby of the Amway Grand Hotel.
To see all the work, click here: ArtPrize 2012