Tuesday, October 11, 2011

ArtPrize 2011 recap

ArtPrize 2011, the world's largest art competition, just wrapped up and it was quite the experience!

This year, over 1500 artists were included in various locations across the city of Grand Rapids, MI, with the promise of almost $450,000 in prizes.

Earlier in the year, I submitted a design I created for the competition and was lucky enough to be included in the group of pieces on display at the Public Museum. The piece would become my largest and most detailed design yet.

Branches measures 30x20 inches and took about three months to complete. In total, I cut over 25,000 holes in the sheet of paper used to create the piece. It was a truly challenging piece, not just for the fragile nature of the design, but also the somewhat grueling nature of cutting so many tiny holes in order to finish a small area. I carted the piece around New England this summer during my archaeology fieldwork, often cutting it in hotel rooms in the evening. Progress was definitely slow, but I knew the results would be one of the most detailed papercuts ever created by any papercutter. Below are some shots I took throughout the cutting progress:

Though I didn't place in the top 10, I did place top 25 in my neighborhood, and I'm very happy with the results. The organization does not release the overall ranks, but given there were five neighborhoods, I know I was in the top 125 overall. Hands down, one of the best outcomes of ArtPrize was my very first art review:
Close inspection is also required for the most quietly fantastical work on display, “Branches.” This black cut-paper work is by Joseph Bagley of Dorchester, Mass. As if looking out a large second story window on a stark winter day, Bagley presents an extraordinary webbing of branches, large and small, in a dazzling silhouette. The technical virtuosity of a dazzling object this complex cut from a single sheet of paper is spellbinding, but ultimately the power of the work is visual. The economy of form, composition and monochrome splendor stays with you for a long, long time. - Joseph Becherer, The Grand Rapids Press
I'm getting that tattooed on my back!

The piece is now on its way back to Boston, so I went ahead and listed it on etsy.

Okay, back to cutting. As always, please check out my facebook page. I'm posting regular progress photos of my new large piece. Currently working on a detailed "Tree Portrait" of a pine tree. It's coming out great!