GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - The ArtPrize winner will be announced this Friday, and you can still vote in the top ten. To help you cast your ballot we look at each of the top ten pieces. Today we feature three of the top ten looking at the artists in the GRAM, the BOB Parking Lot, and the Public Museum.
Tired Pandas by Nick Jakubiak is located in the BOB Parking Lot. It is a sculpture of two pandas made out of recycled bike tires and inner tubes. "It is all recycled material," explains Nick Jakubiak. "The shops I work with they have to pay to get rid of it and then it ends up in a dump or you can give it to me and I can do something pretty with it."
Last year Jakubiak made a giant crow out of tires, but felt people were intimidated by it. "This one is soft and fluffy," says Jakubiak. "When I made it I thought I need to go after the ahhh factor." Jakubiak didn't expect to be in the top ten. "I didn't even go to the top ten ceremony because I didn't expect to be in the top ten," explains Jakubiak.
The best moment he had at Artprize was when he helped a blind girl experience his sculpture though touch. He said that her reaction was better than anything an art critic could ever say about his piece.
Earth Giant by Benjamin Gazsi is a sculpture located on the banks of the Grand River by the Public Museum. It is made out of mostly natural materials from the woods in West Virginia "The hands, feet, and head are made out of chicken wire covered in burlap then I use a natural concrete mix," explains 24 year-old Gazsi. "I think what person really like about this is that they have seen these materials before in their every day walks in the woods, but never have seen them in this way."
Ben is student at West Virginia University, and at age 24 this makes him the youngest of the top ten finalists. "Like I said before it is a very humbling experience talking to the public getting a lot of positive feedback," explains Gazsi. "I just really wanted to be part of ArtPrize after I heard about it last spring being named in the top ten is just more than I expected."
Because the giant is made out of earth materials it is designed not to last and is considered a temporary sculpture. Ben says given enough time the material will disintegrate back into the earth.
Botanical Exotica a Monumental Collection of the Rare Beautiful by Jason Gamrath is located in the back of the museum. It is a glass and steel orchid garden that stands over 8 foot tall. "The real reason why I chose this piece is because there is something about the orchid that has this aura around it," explains Gamrath. "It just has this very powerful presence that was part of this very powerful emotion I was feeling."
Jason Gamrath said he had three sleepless nights driving his collection of large glass orchids over 2000 miles from Seattle to Grand Rapids. "My heart stopped every time I hit a bump," says Gamrath.
Gamrath says he didn't come to ArtPrize to win money. "I do this to inspire people and bring beauty into the world," says Gamrath. "I had people cry and hug me and say thank you so much. Seeing just one would have made this totally worth it."