Art Prize Hat Trick

by Scott Atkinson via

FLINT, MI — Call it an Art Prize hat trick.

John Dempsey, a Flint painter, has had his work accepted for a third time into the annual art show and contest that brings entries and participants from across the world.

Not bad for someone who’s only tried four times — especially given that he’s been offered a spot each time he’s tried for the Grand Rapids event, but decided one year not to participate.

“It’s nice, because all three are venues I’ve been really happy with,” he said.

At Art Prize, venues all over Grand Rapids participate, showing off art they themselves pick. This year, it runs from Sept. 24 through Oct. 12.

This year, Dempsey will be at The B.O.B., which stands for “Big Old Building,” it’s a 70,000-square foot, four-story building that houses a collection of trendy bars and restaurants.

In other words, it’s a place your art will be seen if it’s hanging up.

“I’m kind of excited to exhibit in that space,” he said.

Dempsey, who lives and works in Flint and was born in Detroit, has had his work hanging around town in places such as the Buckham Gallery and Bishop Airport. He teaches art at Mott Community College.

The work he’ll be displaying is a 6- by 8-foot painting that he describes as something like a cubist landscape — perhaps not the easiest thing to imagine but something you can understand once you’ve seen it.

“It has a number of different images combined into an image. It has multiple views, kind of fractured, images taken from different scenes composed together. It’s composing different spaces together. It’s kind of cubist,” he said.

He completed it two years ago. For him, he said, that makes it a fairly recent painting.

Its large size is also typical of his style, he said, and it was also the reason he had to turn down his first Art Prize opportunity about six years ago.

The venue was an outdoor tent, and those running it said he would have to take it down each night for safety’s sake — not the easiest thing to do when you live on the other side of the state and the painting is taller than you.

Art Prize is is a contest, one in which viewers wandering the city can vote for their favorites. Odds of winning a prize are long, but Dempsey said it’s something to be enjoyed.

“There are quite a few artists. It’s me and a thousand of my closest friends,” he said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Buckham Gallery © 2018