By Jordan Wilmot
ArtPrize, a Grand Rapids event showcasing talented artists from all over the world in a variety of mediums, is where Kevin Grass is looking to make his mark with a top five finish.
His entry, titled “Not Me Too,” is on display at Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and is a painting depicting Harvey Weinstein and a casting couch which is a commentary on the #MeToo movement and the dark side of the entertainment industry.
The inspiration for this piece came to Grass after having discussions with two of his female art history students, who happened to be ballerinas and had gone through several harassment scenarios. The piece shows a Harvey Weinstein figure with one woman on the couch, clearly uncomfortable and distraught, while another older more mature woman is about to retaliate with the use of pepper spray.
This is Grass’ first go at ArtPrize, and as to whether or not he will compete in years to come Grass said, ”No, definitely not” for which there are a multitude of reasons. ArtPrize is extremely time-consuming for artists and particularly challenging for Grass is a full-time art professor at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, Florida.
Grass estimated that his entry took “five months, about 400 hours or so” to create. However, this isn’t inherently a bad thing for Grass, whose wife, Michaela Oberlaender, often will send him to his studio to paint in order to “gather himself.” Grass described painting as his “addiction.”
“Some people have alcohol, some people have drugs… which isn’t good for them,” Grass said, adding “…(Painting is) a healthy outlet.” This explains the wisdom of his wife’s habit of sending him off to his studio.