ArtPrize 2010: A Mermaid Made of Toothpicks

Pamlico "The Mermaid" by Gregory Lewis (photo credit: Julie Sarcona)

In the coming days I will be posting photos of the ArtPrize entries that captivate me in random order. I will also post video clips when I’m able to snag brief interviews with artists. ArtPrize is the international art competition held in Grand Rapids, Mich. More than 1,700 artists have entered and attendees vote to decide who goes home with the $250,000 top prize.

Pamlico “The Mermaid” by Gregory Lewis (above) is attracting quite a crown at the Grand Rapids Public Museum where ArtPrize goers appear intrigued. I’ve never met anyone who claimed to have seen a “real” mermaid. Thanks to Lewis, thousands of us can say they’ve seen a mermaid constructed out of 87,000 toothpicks.

The whole piece is amazing, but I was most intrigued by the mermaid’s wavy hair that was painstakingly created by making small breaks in the toothpicks. Lewis started with the lips and 18 months later he had created a full mermaid one toothpick at a time. Read more about his entry here.

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