Lathrup Village artist named this year’s MI Great Artist
Posted December 18, 2013
LATHRUP VILLAGE — In the quest to shine a spotlight on local talent and homegrown artwork, the MI Great Artist of 2013 has been named — a local resident who demonstrates how art and livelihood can be brilliantly intertwined.
Lathrup Village resident and artist Henry Heading, who operates Heading Designs, was chosen as the top winner of the regional initiative that drew hundreds of submissions.
“Being able to create is an essential part of my life, reflecting my passion and imagination,” said Heading, who majored in fine arts at the Center for Creative Studies from 1975-1979. His primary focus is realism, using oil and acrylics, he said, and he’s attracted to art deco and ethnic designs, frequently switching to mediums such as woods and metals to break up the monotony, and designing and building conversational 3-D pieces.
“No matter the medium, each piece must achieve the highest degree of craftsmanship possible,” he says in his artist statement.
The second annual contest culminated in a reception Dec. 12 at Southfield’s Park West Gallery, where Heading was announced the MI Great Artist out of the top five finalists.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who launched the initiative last year to identify and support “Michigan’s next up-and-coming” artists in the Economic Growth Alliance region of Oakland, Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Shiawassee and St. Clair counties, said that what made Heading’s work stand out for the judges was his “bold colors and designs, (which) gave him an edge.”
Heading said his inspiration for creating pieces like the ones that earned him this award include family, as well as people and things from everyday life.
“It could be something as simple as a crack in a brick wall; it’s up to us to filter through our gift of creativity into something great,” he explained about his artistic style. “Always be true to your art. Be you. And stand out in the crowd.”
According to Patterson’s office, the contest’s second go picked up tremendous steam, with more than 600 artists submitting this year, compared to 120 in the first year.
The initiative, which began with public online voting and then a panel of professional judges choosing the top five and grand-prize winner, also upped the ante with more this year, including raising the MI Great Artist cash prize from $1,000 to $1,500.
In addition to the monetary award, Heading’s five submitted pieces of work will be framed by Park West Gallery, he will receive a scholarship to attend three Business Basics workshops at the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center, he’ll get a one-hour consultation with an Oakland County business development representative, his artwork will be featured on a poster to promote one of Oakland County’s signature quality-of-life events, and of course, he will have his work exhibited at Park West in a solo exhibition, as well as having work displayed in a two-month solo exhibition at the Oakland County Galleria in the Executive Office Building in Waterford.
“Winning the MI Great Artist Competition was really exciting, as well as an honor. To be among such talented artists really inspired me,” Heading said. “I am thankful for new doors of opportunity and exposure. I feel that God has given each and every one of us a special gift or talent, and it is up to us to express it in the fullest.”
Park West Gallery founder and CEO Albert Scaglione, who partners with Patterson to make the initiative happen, noted in the announcement how impactful merging local talent with artist greats from across the globe can be for artists like Heading and West Bloomfield’s Deborah Hyde, who won last year.
“This competition is a reminder that metro Detroit is rich with creativity and possibility, and we’re happy to showcase that,” he said. “What better way to support our local talent than by exhibiting their work in a gallery that sells and displays works created by some of the most well-known living artists and old masters?”
The four other finalists were Rochester Hills resident Kim Fujiwara, who also made it to the top five last year; Warren resident Patrick McManus; and Birmingham’s Victor Pytko and Weatherly Stroh.
They each will receive a $375 cash prize, up from $250 last year; framing by Park West Gallery of the five pieces of art included in their submissions; a free Business Basics workshop at the Oakland County One Stop Shop; a one-hour consultation with an Oakland County business development representative; and a two-month solo exhibition in the Oakland County Galleria.
All of the artists’ pieces are on display at Park West Gallery, located at 29469 Northwestern Hwy., in Southfield, until Jan. 3, 2014.
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