Artist carves and paints boulders along the Grand River for ArtPrize 2014

kevin sudeith

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The countdown is on for opening day of ArtPrize 2014, which begins Sept. 24. That means many artists are in town working feverishly to finish their entries.

Kevin Sudeith is the kind of artist who seems to live in transition. Living in Brooklyn, New York he told FOX 17 he spends about half the year working on stone carvings, called petroglyphs, around the country.

For now he lives with a local host family, as he chisels a permanent scene of life-sized paintings of fish carved into five large boulders along the Grand River below the Pearl Street Bridge.

“‘Petro’ is rock, ‘glyph’ is writing, and ‘ist’ is me, the man who makes it,” said Sudeith.

A petroglyphist and artist, Sudeith said he is working alongside the Grand Rapids Public Museum to create a series of fish that will live along the Grand River as a permanent installation. His goal Sudeith said is to make a permanent document of a place at a given time.

“The fact that my work is so permanent is a big motivator for me,” said Sudeith. “It also adds a lot of responsibility, in terms of what I choose to carve, that really personifies a place right now.”

First he draws on the rocks with chalk, chisels, and then paints on different angles of the boulders. Sudeith picked the boulders and had them hauled to the site, and has been working since the start of August.

Now regulars will jog past Sudeith chiseling and painting, or a small crowd will look down from the Pearl Street Bridge, and comment in awe of his progress.

“I hope that the people of the community identify with them and see their own lives in the carvings, and their own lives in the longer continuum of time,” said Sudeith.

During ArtPrize, Sudeith said the Public Museum will host eight days of educational programming for pre-K through 12th grade students using his art work. His piece will be carved and painted by Sept. 22, then Sudeith said he will make embossed paper prints of his carvings.

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