Winners Gallery

2016 TOP PRIZE WINNER

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CHARLES CLARY

BE KIND REWIND

“Variable”
Hand-cut papers, Found VHS boxes

ARTIST STATEMENT

In February of 2013, I lost both my mother and father two weeks apart from each other to smoking-related cancers. It was a devastating time in my life, but I channeled my grief into the conceptual ideas of my work. Cancer is a disease that is a perfectly structured killer; it is beautiful in its architecture but grotesque in its eventuality. I began to think about nostalgia, longing for a childhood I never had, and parents that I needed. My recent work is an exploration of the escapisms I used as a child to escape my everyday reality. I repurpose retro-pop culture VHS from my childhood to re-envision the movies and fiction that became my surrogate parents and allowed me to find order from my chaos, beauty from destruction, and hope for more joyous times.

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Charles Clary was born in 1980 in Morristown, Tennessee. He received his BFA in painting with honors from Middle Tennessee State University and his MFA in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He has shown in exhibitions at Pierogi Gallery and Nancy Margolis Gallery in New York, Spoke Art in San Francisco, and in museum shows at Mesa Contemporary Art Museum, Gadsten Museum of Art, and Cornell Museum of Art. Clary has been featured in numerous print and Internet interviews including Colossal, WIRED magazine (US and UK), Hi Fructose, beautifuldecay.com, and Bluecanvas Magazine, as well as a recent feature in American Craft Magazine. He has also been featured in publications including 500 Paper Objects, Paper Works, Paper Art, Papercraft 2, PUSH: Paper, and The New Twenties. Charles has exhibited regionally, nationally, and internationally in numerous solo and group shows, and is represented by Kenise Barnes Fine Art, Diana Lowenstein Gallery, and Patrajdas Contemporary Gallery.


2016 JURIED PRIZE WINNER

 

BRENT PAFFORD51011638236-Media-01
REMEMBER THIS AS A TIME OF DAY

“Variable”
Porcelain

ARTIST STATEMENT

At the intersection between generations, things are lost. Domestic items lose their potency in daily life, and rarely are objects created, manufactured, or bought with intentions to spend a quality amount of time with them, care for them, and pass them along to younger generations. The work I create is a reaction to this reality. Contemporary society is consumed with disposability, and people are no longer connected to the objects that aid in their sustenance. Making objects formed with touch, labor, and time, imbued with value and worth counterpoints this disposability—the objects I create patiently wait to be discovered and enjoyed, retained, and later passed on to others.

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Brent Pafford grew up on a family farm in South Carolina. He earned an Associate’s Degree specializing in 3-D animation and digital effects from Piedmont Community College and furthered his interests as he completed a BFA in Studio Art from Winthrop University. Working in the organic grocery industry for a number of years allowed Brent to witness people’s interactions and relationships developed over nutrients consumed to sustain life. He became interested in functional ceramics due to the relationships forged between maker, object, and user. After graduating Winthrop University he continued to make functional ware while exploring various firing techniques. Brent continued his education by completing his MFA at Clemson University in 2014. Brent has exhibited nationally and internationally. As he continues to develop as a ceramic artist, he hopes to begin completing residency programs among reaching other goals in New Orleans.


2016 PEOPLE’S CHOICE (3D)

 

JOCELYN CHATEAUVERTchateauvert
INVASIVE SPECIES

“Variable”
Mixed-media, artist-made paper

ARTIST STATEMENT

I build worlds from the most common and least known material: paper. The ritual of hand papermaking is ancient, scientific, and rhythmic. I merge this science with the unknown by air-drying my pieces: the paper shrinks, twists and cockles, forming three-dimensional shapes more subtle than I could design. My paper forms revert to their botanical origins; I make plants from plants. Oversized and immersive, diminutive and whimsical, my pieces dilate the natural world and bring it inside.

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Jocelyn Châteauvert, who was raised and educated in Iowa City, is a paper artist who creates jewelry, lighting, sculpture, and installations from the paper she makes by hand. After earning an MFA from the University of Iowa, she taught electroforming at Middlesex Polytechnic in London, and then established herself as a professional artist in San Francisco. Since 1999, she has lived in Charleston, South Carolina, devoting herself primarily to paper art that is widely displayed in homes and public buildings, and has been honored not only by the South Carolina Arts Commission but also by a Smithsonian Fellowship and by a featured exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art’s Renwick Gallery.


2016 PEOPLE’S CHOICE (2D)

belkaARON BELKA

CONTACT TRACINGS

80″ X 80″
Oil on Canvas

ARTIST STATEMENT

In 2014, my wife spent nine months in West Africa on the front lines of the Ebola response. She lead a surveillance team trying to identify “contacts,” who are persons who may have come into contact with an infected person. The man in this painting was among these “contacts.”  He and several others from a small village in rural Sierra Leone had direct contact with a boy who became infected with Ebola and died.  He knew the boy since his birth and wrapped the boy’s body before burial. This is the moment when he learned that his act of love and respect put him in danger of Ebola. This is the moment when he learned that he was now a “contact,” and for the next 21 days, a stranger would visit him each day to look for signs of the disease that had already killed thousands in his country.  This is Contact Tracing and one of the most critical elements to stem the tide of an epidemic.

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Working primarily in oil paint, Aron Belka is a visual artist currently living and working in New Orleans. His work has shown in museums and galleries locally and nationally including the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, Le Mieux Galleries in New Orleans, and the Jones-Carter Gallery in South Carolina as part of ArtFields® 2014. Aron was awarded Best of Show at the 50th annual St. Tammany Art Association Exhibition and was recently selected to exhibit at SCOPE Miami as a regional winner in the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series.


2016 HONORABLE MENTIONS

Sponsored by The Citizens Bank

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SUSIE GANCH

DRAG(DIPTYCH)

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HEATHER MAE ERICKSON

AMERICAN VALUES/HANDMADE IN AMERICA

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BRAD WILLIAMS

OF THE EARTH

quashie
COLIN QUASHIE

FRENCH TOILE, NEGRO TOIL

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MICHAEL LOGAN WOODLE

CLABBER LADDLE

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WANBLI HAMILTON GAMACHE

EXCAVATIONS

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LOGAN TANNER

HOG

hamilton
KEN HAMILTON

E-Z REST MOTEL

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TYRONE GETER

MOTHER NATURE’S LAST IN-HOUSE DOMESTIC WORKER

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STACY REXRODE

QUASI-DELFT BEQUEST

2015 TOP PRIZE WINNER

Central City

CHARLES ANDERSON
CENTRAL CITY

22″ x 30″
Graphite and Charcoal

ARTIST STATEMENT

Night after night in New Orleans, I saw our youth give their blood to the streets. How could I sit silently on the sidelines as the foundations of life were shattered by gun shots? I was faced with a choice. In my art, will I contribute to a Culture of Life, or will I allow the Culture of Death to prevail? My drawings are an account of the Culture of Life, the greatest alternative to both violence and the Culture of Death. My mission is to actively contribute to New Orleans’ reduction in homicide through artistic expression by supporting and glorifying people who use nonviolence to confront violence, those who help build a life-affirming culture and who are noble role models for our community. I tell their story so that the larger New Orleans community can model their character and deeds and participate in building peace in New Orleans.

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Originally from New Jersey, Charles moved to New Orleans in order to help bring peace to the streets of the city. From 2007 to 2011, he organized hundreds of marches, vigils, meetings, art shows and classes, all focused around stopping the violence, mostly in the areas of the city that were historically the most violent. After a request to do a portrait from a mother who lost her son to violence, Charles pursued drawing portraits of victims of violence for each one of their mothers. Over the past four years, he has expanded that mission and begun to draw people who were involved in the New Orleans peace movement. He uses his art to show the positive people in New Orleans working hard to change the lives of our young people.


2015 JURIED PRIZE WINNER

Third Heaven

BRETTA STALEY
THIRD HEAVEN

30″ x 24″ x 24″
Plexiglass, Glass, and Found Objects

ARTIST STATEMENT

In terms of 2-D compositions as well as 3-D constructions, Bretta’s artworks reflect her efforts to resolve the problem of establishing structurally sound and accurate space within simulated atmospheres and venues. Her artworks also express the analytical processes used to resolve these problems while creating various concepts. She visually interprets and represents each element in a manner that will enhance visual sensations and enrich the overall visual experience. In terms of subject, her artworks reflect her Christian beliefs, concerns, and doctrines. She views her artworks as a “Visionary Christian Art Ministry.” It is her intention to visually communicate unique atmospheres through the depictions of Biblical themes, personas, vistas, historical moments and future projections. Her visual interpretations of the scriptures are generally representational in appearance. She believes that her artworks will share the Gospel and provide an oasis of visual refreshment for humanity.

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Bretta Staley is a native of Orangeburg, SC. She graduated from Edisto High School in 1973. She graduated with a BA in Art Education from Claflin University in 1977. She did further studies at SC State University, Limestone University, and the University of South Carolina in the areas of Art Educational Research, Visual Communications, and Computer Science. She received her M.Ed. in Divergent Learning Art emphasis from Columbia College. She has taught in public schools in Greenville, Florence, Walterboro and Calhoun County. She was the Fine Arts Coordinator of the Claflin University UB Program and Visual Arts Teacher/Coordinator at G&T Consortium for the Arts of Orangeburg. She has participated in many art exhibits across the state and east coast and has received numerous awards from juried shows. She is listed in the 2006 and 2007 editions of “Marquis Who’s Who In America,” and the 2008, 2009, 2010 Edition of “Marquis Who’s Who In American Women” and “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.”


2015 PEOPLE’S CHOICE (2D)

Sisters Under a Canopy of Oaks

MELISSA ASKINS
SISTERS UNDER A CANOPY OF OAKS

8″ x 10″
Photography

ARTIST STATEMENT

“Sisters Under a Canopy of Oaks” was taken on a dirt road on St. Helena Island, SC during a family vacation. The photo was taken on an almost unbearably hot and muggy day in August. My daughters cooperated beautifully when I suddenly told them to hop out and walk down the road so I could take a photo of them in this amazingly beautiful setting. When our girls saw this photo, they begged to submit it to Artfields. They have loved attending Artfields for the past two years, and they like to dream about the art that they could create and submit.

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Photography has been my hobby since I received my first camera on my 9th birthday. My favorite subjects are my daughters, Ella and Olivia, and my husband, Elliott. Our girls love to tell people, “My mama takes more pictures in one day than most people do in a year!” They’re right on many days!
I work part time as a School Psychologist, but my main job (and love) is being a mama and a homeschool teacher to my girls. Ella and Olivia have loved attending Artfields® for the past 2 years. After viewing the art, they choose their favorite pieces to reproduce (with their own spin) in their art journals. This is a fun way for us to incorporate our Artfields experiences into our homeschool lessons!


2015 PEOPLE’S CHOICE (3D)

Consume

MIKE & PATZ FOWLE
CONSUME

Variable
Mixed Media

ARTIST STATEMENT

Creating art is a wondrous journey from the conception of a juicy idea to the final aesthetics; it’s what propels our spirits as creative beings!
With a whimsical and colorful and nod to contemporary culture, our mixed media installation “”Consume”” turns discarded plastic into a swirling school of fabulous, funky fish. As you walk around the installation you become part of the art. We hope to encourage the use of non-traditional art materials and to also spark dialog about post-consumerism waste and the plight of our oceans and fish due to plastics. After all, as the old saying goes, “You are what you eat!”

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Contemporary sculptors, Mike and Patz Fowle, share a passion for creativity and collaboration. They utilize innovative processes and various media to create unique sculptures for public and private collections. The couple’s largest work of art, Big Bleu Birdnanna, is a 23-foot tall, kinetic metal sculpture located in the Cultural Arts Corridor adjacent to the Florence County Museum in Downtown Florence, South Carolina. Patz and Mike Fowle support the visual arts community as teaching artists and have been Artists-in-Residence as far away as Tokyo, Japan.


2015 HONORABLE MENTIONS

Sponsored by The Citizens Bank

Supercritical Flow

TOWNSEND DAVIDSON

SUPERCRITICAL FLOW

Inference
KATE McNEIL

INFERENCE

Bale: Diptych
SUSIE GANCH

BALE: DIPTYCH

Inference
MATT BRYANT

Ana10G0US

To Market, To Market
ARON BELKA

TO MARKET, TO MARKET

Minervaville, 100 Views
MARY GILKERSON

MINERVAVILLE, 100 VIEWS

Murphy Island Youth Hunt, 2013
BRANT BARRETT

MURPHY ISLAND YOUTH HUNT, 2013

Peak
LOREN SCHWERD

PEAK

Villa Cannery
ROBERT LOGRIPPO

VILLA CANNERY

Lake Norman
STACEY DAVIDSON

LAKE NORMAN

2014 TOP PRIZE WINNER

Sun Boxes Mach II

CRAIG COLORUSSO
SUN BOXES MACH II

12″ x 24″ x 11.5″
Wood, Speakers, Solar Panels,
and Electronics

ARTIST STATEMENT

Sun Boxes is an environment for one to enter and exit. It’s a system that improvises with Mother Nature. The sound of Sun Boxes is loud enough to engulf the listener but there is also enough space for ambient sounds of the environment to enter the mix such as; birds, traffic, wind, waves… It’s the perfect combination of technology and nature that create art, an environment.
Participants are encouraged to walk amongst the speakers, and surround themselves with the piece. Allowing the audience to move around the piece will create a unique experience for everyone. Sun Boxes is not just one composition, but, many. There are no batteries involved, so Sun Boxes is reliant on the sun. Clouds, participants and various amounts of sunlight all contribute to the consistent evolution of the piece.

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Craig Colorusso was born April 18, 1970 in Mount Vernon, NY. With a
guitar and some inspiration from the Punk Rock movement of the 1980’s he began to write his own music. By the 1990’s he was in touring bands and started his own record company. After touring the United States tirelessly Colorusso found himself in one too many bars, his music began to expand and incorporate composition and improvisation. He began to play bass clarinet and clarinet. This expansion caused his music to evolve, resulting in the pieces Tagmusik (24 hour performance in Bethel CT) and Maschine (a composition for instruments and off-set printing presses.) Slowly, these explorations extended beyond music and investigated light and sculpture. First with MB 89 and then with CUBEMUSIC, both of which have toured the US. In the last decade Colorusso has combined his interests to create his latest work Sun Boxes which premiered June 2009 as part of the exhibition “off the Grid” at the Goldwell Museum in NV.


2014 JURIED PRIZE WINNERS

Neoclassic Female Tapestry

JOHN ERIC RIIS
NEOCLASSIC FEMALE TAPESTRY

102″ X 138″
Silk, Metallic Thread,
and Crystal Beads

ARTIST STATEMENT

This tapestyry was inspired by French neoclassical portraiture but with a twist…tattooing her face with a floral motif and adding crystal beadwork to the surface of the portrait

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Education:
1967 BFA School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Il
1969 MFA Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI
1970 Fulbright Grant, Viswa Bharati University, Santiniketan, West Bengal, India
Selected Awards, Grants and Scholarships:
National Endowment for the Arts Grant, 1974
National Endowment for the Arts Grant, 1977
A.I.A. Award for Contributions of Art in Architecture, 1978
Special Award, Museum of Fine Art, Budapest, Hungary, 2001
Honorary Award, 10th International Triennial of Tapestry, Lotz, Poland, 2001
Master of the Medium Award in Fibers, Renwick Alliance, Washington DC, 2011
United States Artists Windgate Fellow, December, 2011
Selected Collections:
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
American Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY
Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum,Washington, DC
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT

 

Family Dollar General Tree

ROBERT SNEAD
FAMILY DOLLAR GENERAL TREE

Variable
Recycled Cardboard, Wood, Steel,
Lights, and Wiring

ARTIST STATEMENT

Family Dollar General Tree grew out of project I started after our move to New Orleans in 2010. The original project, titled Wreck , was a recreation of a car accident I witnessed on my first days in the city and it became a metaphor for our move-feeling as if we’d crashed landed with no clear plan. While developing the installation with the cardboard boxes we used for the move, I became obsessed with the corporate branding that covered the exteriors. Because of a prevalence of Dollar Stores in my neighborhood, I began collecting and building from their cardboard refuse with the goal of creating a closed circuit infinite loop of Uroboros, where the trash of Dollar Stores goes back into the production of a Dollar Store. The project cynically comments on the illusion of infinite resources that box stores project, while also wholeheartedly embracing the forms that shape our domestic life with meticulously handcrafted products.

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Robert Snead is a native of Charleston, SC where he graduated Cum Laude in 2002 from the College of Charleston with a BA in Studio Art (2011 he was named a distinguished alumnus). Soon after graduating, he helped found Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston and remained founding director of the organization until 2005 when he left to pursue graduate studies at Yale University School of Art. After receiving his MFA in painting and printmaking in 2007, he helped form the traveling artist collective Transit Antenna and spent the next two years developing community-based art projects across North America. He has exhibited with Jack Tilton Gallery and Deitch Projects in New York, and he currently lives and works in New Orleans where he is faculty at Loyola University, managing member of the visual & literary art collective Press Street, and the 2013 director of the Hand in Glove conference.


2014 PEOPLE’S CHOICE (2D)

Out of Bondage I

COLIN QUASHIE
OUT OF BONDAGE I

52″ X 69″
Oil on Canvas

ARTIST STATEMENT

This is a part of a series of images of actual slaves from a larger ongoing exhibition that deals with various aspects of southern ‘Plantation’ life

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Colin Quashie is best known critically as an iconoclast who challenges audiences with his raucous brand of controversial social commentary. With numerous exhibitions on his resume, he shows no signs of mellowing anytime soon and continues to push the boundaries. Starting with MadTv in 1996, he has financed his art by writing for television. An Emmy winning writer, he has worked as a textile art director, graphic artist and designer between writing gigs. For the past six years he has been a participating artist in the McColl Center for Visual Art Innovation Institute in Charlotte, NC. He is currently on hiatus from art while returning to school to pursue a career as a Registered Nurse.

 

 


2014 PEOPLE’S CHOICE (3D)

Think

JOSHUA REDFEARN
THINK

72″ X 120″ X 24″
Fabric, Mixed Media, Paper,
and Wood Panels

ARTIST STATEMENT

In life, if we would think before we acted, what would happen? What misery would we avoid? What joy would we create?
I have made choices I regret and choices I cherish. Decisions cannot be remade. Once chosen they are final – the results of them will affect others and yourself for the rest of your life.
Our decisions affect others, no matter how much we try to ignore it. One may think, “I have no one close to me, whose life will be affected by my continued wrong decisions.” However, what if the continued wrong decisions are keeping those people out of your life? What if these were people you were supposed to meet, connect with, and change?
Your life is meant to benefit more than just yourself.
So again I ask, what would happen if we would “Think”?
Thinking about the right thing to do alone is not enough. In every situation we must think of the wisest thing to do, and then do it.
Thinking of the best thing to do and having good intentions is great, but it is ultimately useless until followed through. Your decisions count. Your decisions matter.
Think.

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Joshua Redfearn was born in July of 1983 into a loving family of a supportive dad and mom, 2 older brothers and one older sister. He realized his desire for art around 6 years of age. A fond memory of his is when he drew a wrestler on paper and showed it to his mom. She also drew a wrestler, but hers looked significantly better and he noticed this. He desired to have better drawing skills like her. Through the years he continued to meet people who could draw better than himself and each one gave him the desire to reach a new skill level. His skills continually improved and with continued practice he noticed a substantial increase in his results in his middle school through high school years. He won numerous contests and still wondered how far he could go, remaining humble through it all. He loved the feeling of accomplishment he felt by igniting wonder and excitement in others through his work. To him, art is not necessarily a passion but a gift he is responsible and answerable for.

2013 TOP PRIZE WINNER

Jamie

JIM ARENDT
JAMIE

96″ x 150″
Cut Denim

ARTIST STATEMENT

Art making is a way for me to explore our changing relationship with work. I’ve paid witness to the demise of opportunities to engage in meaningful work and seen cities ravaged by the absence of industry. As the landscape of work and labor continue to shift around us, I use art making as a way to investigate how the division of labor and alienation from work has impacted individual lives. My early engagement with work that was whole and undivided has left me with a persistent feeling that our present economic configuration has alienated most of us from the finest use of our skills.
Art is labor made visible. The order, planning and execution of art making serves as a memetic bridge to the work i engaged in with my family as a child. Our farm bound us to it and to one another. The labor put into the land, livestock, and implements was our investment in our crop, and the bank would not foreclose. Labor become a tangible expression of our hopes.
Unfortunately, hope fails. Despite our work, innumerable low-level disasters plagued the land my great-grandfathers broke and spread my family like chaff. Our plight was mirrored in countless households as the entire region dissolved under the prolonged economic hardship brought about by a new paradigm in labor. Work was retreating beyond our ability to follow and emptying the landscape of the people who once called it home.
Making is a way for me to echo the cycles of seasonal death, unemployment, natural disasters, and loss I’ve witnessed. The physical labor involved in the creation of these pieces mirrors the work I engaged in with my family. The scale and application of materials evokes in me memories of the time when there was promise for our endeavor. Casting the people I know best into the center of my work, I explore how the changing landscape of labor has defined them, not as they were or are, but as I know them to be. Our lives, separated by years and distance, remain entangled around the work we left unfinished.
I choose materials to work with while seeking to create a greater relevancy between content and form. Denim seems created to be abused, worn out, patched, stained, and burnt through. Its characteristics are mirrored in the individuals I choose to represent. Yet, jeans remain supple, and with the right pair of boots can still go to the ball. I like that.
Still, it’s damn hard to make pictures out of it.
I guess I like that, too.


2013 JURIED PRIZE WINNER

Shell

LEANNA KNAPP
SHELL

54″ x 54″ x 54″
Clay Fabric

ARTIST STATEMENT

Shell was my most recent completed sculpture at the time of the ArtFields® 2013 submission deadline. It was my strongest piece out of all of my previous work because I put every emotion I had into it. It told a story that I was unable to speak through words, and it was able to tell my story when I didn’t know how to. I felt like I owed it to the sculpture to try to have it shown to a larger audience because of the emotional and physical weight that it had begun to bear for me. At the time of completion, I began to see this piece as a friend of mine. I had spent hours of every day for three months with this one sculpture; I gave it all of my pain and internal struggles. I felt the least I could do was honor it by showing it in a beautiful venue to a grander audience
I felt that if I was going to win any prizes from ArtFields® 2013, it would come from Shell. I looked through all of the work I had completed and realized that I had put the most of myself into that sculpture, and that if I was going to win, it would be with that piece. I submitted my entry with confidence that even if I didn’t win a top prize, I would still have the opportunity to have my work reach a large audience, and I felt that my sculpture deserved that at the least.
I received an amazing amount of support and acceptance from the community of Lake City. The vendors and the public audience were all extremely gracious and hospitable. I ran into a few obstacles during the installation of my sculpture at Becky’s Salon, but I received quick assistance from local business owners, employees and a group of helpers from the ArtFields® offices! Without any of their help my sculpture would have been shown from a parking lot. Instead, they willingly helped get my 500 pound sculpture into the lobby of Becky’s Salon, where it took root and grew into the sculpture that the ArtFields® audience got to experience. Since the competition, I have received an outpouring of love and support from my new, local community. I think that the best experience to come from my ArtFields® win is knowing that I have inspired other artists. People have come up to me and told me how my story has encouraged them to keep pursuing their artistic expression and to not give up on what makes them happy.
Being the recipient of the Juried Panel Prize really validated that I am in fact an artist. Fresh out of college and still trying to figure out my niche, I was given the greatest confirmation from this award. It has improved my confidence as an artist. This award was based off of the vote of a group of very established and esteemed artists. Having their approval and acceptance into the art world has really made a difference in how I view my own work.


2013 PEOPLE’S CHOICE

Steve Jobs

KIRKLAND SMITH
STEVE JOBS

48″ x 48″
Assemblage of Apple Computer Parts

ARTIST STATEMENT

I first want to say how exciteed I am about ArtFields®, not just because I was one of the winners. It is a great event for SC, and when I first heard about it, I encouraged all of my friends who are artists to enter. I really wanted the festival to be a success because I knew it could have a great economic impact on Lake City, and one which could ripple throughout the state.
I had already been planning to create an assemblage portrait of Steve Jobs when I heard about the competition. After months of collecting Apple computer products, I had not begun putting it together. I had to work around the clock to finish the piece in time to submit it. I was inspired to create the portrait as a way to pay homage to Steve Jobs as an artist. A year after his death, his face was already iconic. Through his innovative work at Apple, he has made a huge impact on our culture and people will remember him as a visionary. As an artist, I am inspired by his passion and creativity and recognize that each apple product is a work of art. Therefore, I loved the idea of creating his likeness out of his creations.
I didn’t know if I had a chance to win one of the three awards but I was hopeful! There are many good reasons to enter a competition like ArtFields®, and winning is only one. I think I realized this even more when the competition was over. First of all, after working so hard to create my work, I wanted people to see it! If I had a gallery show in Columbia, SC where I live, I would be thrilled if a few hundred people saw the work. ArtFields® drew a crowd of over 20,000! The feedback I received was wonderful and I was lucky to get some good press while there. I even had a buyer for my entry! I was able to stay in Lake City both weekends during the festival and it gave me the opportunity to meet many people and answer questions about my work. I passed out lots of business cards!
Winning ArtFields® has given me much encouragement for the work I am doing and I believe it has changed others perception of me. It has given more credibility to my work. I continue to work with post-consumer materials and have recently completed a commissioned portrait (Dr. Alan Roberts) which utilizes my subject’s personal items to create his likeness. I am constantly juggling work with family life and raising my children, three of whom are still at home. I think it is important to follow your passion and pursue your dreams, however much time you have to do it. I encourage fellow artists to enter competitions for the many benefits gained that I mentioned above, as well as having an opportunity to meet other artists. I began working as an assemblage artist as my response to an environmental competition I entered almost six years ago (the piece I entereed excited me enough to keep going). As an artist, we never know where the journey will take us, and it makes for an exciting life.