Revisiting ArtPrize's Big Ten

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Here are some additional insights into these images from photographer Brian Kelly:

"Last year, I was fortunate to be commissioned by ArtPrize to take a special portrait of each of the Top 10 placing artists (plus Young Kim). Many of these photographs have never been published before their appearance here in this photo essay for Rapid Growth.

In general, the mood of these artists on location was sky-high, with palpable excitement and a hint of apprehension. The Top 10 had just been announced, and each artist no doubt had allowed themselves the opportunity to imagine how the $250,000 top prize might change their lives.

My assistant Josh and I were scrambling for several days tracking down each of the artists, finding out their travel schedules into Grand Rapids and trying to arrange the sitting as quickly as possible. Much of this week is a blur to me now. So much of it was spent scouting locations and gaining permission to shoot in some unusual places (rooftops, etc).

I enjoyed having the chance to interact with the artists in brief snippets of conversation before and after the shoot. Some of these snippets led to longer conversations later in the week over coffee. I still keep up with a few of the artists on a regular basis and am appreciative of the new friendships established out of this photography project. It's just another example of how ArtPrize has fostered conversation within the artistic community.

I was given complete artistic freedom on this series of portraits and I thank ArtPrize for extending their trust in me to capture such an important series of images for them. I had a blast.

My thanks to the Ledyard Building owners who allowed us onto the rooftop of their historic building as well as to Mike Ellis of Ellis Parking for granting permission to shoot on the Pearl St. parking structure.

The best news is that I get to do this all over again this for ArtPrize. I can't wait to take the portraits of this year's top artists with a new photo concept."

Brian Kelly is a commercial and editorial photographer based in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Brian is also Rapid Growth's managing photographer and has been since its inception over 4 years ago.
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