Artprize: Message Behind The Art

Posted at 7:26 PM, Sep 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-18 22:32:36-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — James Kristan is entering his second Artprize this year. He entered the inaugural event in 2009. Wednesday morning, he navigated the ‘Artprize hub’ like dozens
of other artists and art enthusiasts on opening day.

“Participating is great because you get to show the entire international community who you are as a person and what you represent,” he said.

Kristan’s piece is called “Reflections of Nature” which is made out of swamp wood, and it’s housed at Louis Benton Steakhouse.
He said it’s a tribute to Fred and Lena Meijer.

“And the reason I did it for Fred and Lena is because I’m a very chatty person. My wife tells me to shut up, and I’ll talk to anybody,” Kristan explained.

He said he also shared a love for sculptures with Fred Meijer and the two both grew up as country boys with a knack for simplicity.
However, Kristan said the work almost went unfinished after he was diagnosed wth prostate cancer earlier this year. He underwent surgery this past June.

“This has been very very challenging. I didn’t even know if I’d be alive here talking to you right now. So I’m a very fortunate man and so far, I’m prostate cancer free,” he said proudly.

The annual event brings big rewards to the top winners. First place receives $200,000. The winner is decided by popular vote. The $100,000 prize is decided by a jury. There is also a $75,000 prize and a $50,000 prize. A total of $560,000 is awarded.

However, Kristan said he’s not in it for the money.
“The prize is not anything that I would try to achieve at all because it’s too large of a goal,” he said.

“… it’s a crap shoot. You never know who’s going to win. What I feel the artists need to focus on is getting along good with the venues, have a venue relationship. And really have a passion of the art you’re doing and really let the story of your art be told,” Kristan explained.

In order to vote, you must register. You can register at the ‘Artprize hub’ at 41 Sheldon Boulevard. You can also download the app onto an Android or iPhone. Just head to for the link to the app.