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Artist: Mark Vainner
Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI
Venue: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
What was your inspiration?
“I had a nephew that committed suicide at Christmas. It put a little bit of darkness in the family. I was at the funeral, and I said ‘how could he not see all this love and all these people in this church crying for him? How did he not see this?’ I thought, I’ve got to do something to get people to start realizing that there is a purpose and a reason for all of us. No matter who we are, young or old, our actions affect other people around us.”
How long did it take to make your entry?
90 hours from blueprint to finish
How have people been reacting to your artwork?
“Beautifully. They hear the story, and they ask about the color. It is orange because it is a sign of happiness.”
What would you do with the money if you won?
“A part of the proceeds would go to a suicide prevention. The other part of the money would go towards more of my work. I would love though to be able to give a good sized check to the suicide prevention.”
Compiled by Jacquelyn Zeman – Managing/News Editor