The Rapidian

Beauty in movement: Highlighting ArtPrize ACTion artist Wes DeVries

Wes DeVries' ArtPrize piece brings texture and movement to life.
Close-up of "Falling Cars"

Close-up of "Falling Cars"

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About ACT and ArtPrize

For over five years, Artists Creating Together has partnered with ArtPrize to bring art to all members of the community. Each year, the three Juror's Choice winners in the ACTion Art exhibit are sponsored by ACT to participate in ArtPrize, empowering artists with disabilities to display their artwork in a national, renowned competition. During ArtPrize, ACT also hosts a series of events through ArtPrize. This year, ACT will be hosting Alphabet Soup!, a free, family-fun event on October 2nd. ACT will also be hosting the To Market, To Market Education Days, which offer workshops in sensory arts, culinary arts, creative movement, and ACT's signature truck painting to classrooms in the greater Grand Rapids area. For more information, visit http://www.artistscreatingtogether.org/artprize.

Wes DeVries

Wes DeVries

Though Wes DeVries took art in high school and pursued a few leisure art classes, he is primarily a self-taught artist. When it comes to art, Wesley believes “you learn till you die,” emphasizing that art is a primary source of learning and growth. Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Wes DeVries brings his own unique style to his artwork and the Grand Rapids art community.

According to Wes, he does not emphasize the planning process in his artwork; rather, he begins a piece and allows his works to take on their own shape. This is what often leads to the sense of movement in his paintings, particular in his ArtPrize entry “Falling Cars.”

“Capturing movement is very important in my work, mostly because my own motor skills are limited and painful,” Wes shared about the fluid feeling in most of his work. “My work is often abstract, and I really want the people to see what they see in the painting. The images are often subconscious, and hopefully result in the viewer recalling past experiences or feelings.”

“Falling Cars” is one of Wes’ uniquely textured pieces, thanks to his work with credit card painting, a style that he now considers to be his signature. Rather than applying paint to a paintbrush, he applies it directly to old credit cards to paint with. The method creates interesting lines, shapes, and textures that a brush could not achieve. As a result, each piece is unique and individual, because not one stroke can be replicated.

Wes attributes his artistic growth to the community of artists in Grand Rapids, and describes that the feedback and support provided by fellow Grand Rapids artists allows him to become a better artist. The community, he says, has encouraged him to continue to fearlessly create unique and challenging work.

“As an artist, one of the things I am always trying to do is create something beautiful out of tragedy and misfortune,” Wes shared in an artist statement for his ArtPrize entry. “This piece is all about seeing the movement in the wreckage.”

Being involved in the community, Wes has been a long-time artist with Artists Creating Together (ACT), a local non-profit organization that connects the art community with the disability community in Grand Rapids. ACT is sponsoring Wes in ArtPrize as a juror’s choice winner of their annual ACTion Art exhibit, designed to empower adult artists with disabilities to display their work in a professional gallery format.

“Falling Cars” will be displayed at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel during ArtPrize, starting on September 21st. For more information about Wes and his artistic process, visit his ArtPrize information page at http://www.artprize.org/63816 or visit the ACTion Art page through Artists Creating Together at http://www.artistscreatingtogether.org/artprize. Wes' is vote code 63816.

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