The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV alumna’s painting showcased in ArtPrize

GVL/ Aida Dennis

Grand Valley State University alumna and artist Randi Ford recently had a painting showcased in ArtPrize 2023. She hopes its presence at the competition brought beauty and spiritual healing to those who need it and inspired young artists.

ArtPrize is an annual event and competition in Grand Rapids that features local and international artists with a wide range of experience and pieces in any medium. The event began on Sept. 14 and ended on Oct. 1. It included a variety of art that the public and featured artists could vote on for an immersive and interactive experience.

Ford’s ArtPrize submission, “Perfect Creation,” depicted Northern Michigan’s Pictured Rocks’ shoreline in acrylic paint. Ford was drawn to the natural, untouched area and hoped that the rhythmic flow of the painting would inspire beauty, peace and harmony. 

“I think that people can get lost in darkness in the world and be clouded by destructive things,” Ford said. “With painting, I am bringing people back to the purity and beauty within nature.” 

Ford values the locations she paints and has partnered with the Land Conservancy of West Michigan to bring awareness to the importance of preserving and restoring natural areas.

“Natural conservations are so awe-inspiring and untouched like the Garden of Eden,” Ford said. “Those are the places (where) I feel most alive and welcome to the spiritual essence in nature.”

Ford graduated from GVSU with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2012 before returning in 2017 to work as an adjunct professor in 2-D Design for three semesters. 

Jill Eggers, an associate professor in the GVSU Department of Visual & Media Arts (VMA), remembers Ford as a remarkable student, committed and self-directed, with ambition that she developed into an art career.

“Randi is a really good (representation) of our students,” Eggers said. “Her skills grew from her education here, and she pushed them into a direction that’s very uniquely her own.”

VMA aims to create a strong sense of community. Often faculty members like to keep in touch with and encourage their former students’ careers and successes. 

“We (VMA) are really proud of her (Ford),” Eggers said. “I keep an eye on her work because it is really lovely, and I am happy to see her success.”  

After her time teaching with VMA, Ford moved to Northern Michigan to continue her work as a full-time artist and expanded her small business through gallery involvement and art shows. Through this, she has won multiple awards and has been recognized by artistic publications for her landscape paintings that share an artistic style similar to Van Gogh.

Ford hopes her story and paintings can inspire young artists to follow their innate desire to experiment and create art without comparing themselves to other artists.

“There are a lot of different art markets out there,” Ford said. “At fine art festivals, I keep hearing that we need to get younger people into these events or else (the) events are going to end up dying in the future.”  

Ford said a strong portfolio is all an artist needs to begin applying to different art festivals and events. She encourages young artists to create and expand on their artistic mediums.  

“I hope that other young artists can know that they can make it as an artist,” Ford said. “It takes a lot of dedication and faith but you can do it.” 

Ford’s paintings can also be found in two Northern Michigan galleries– Somebody’s Gallery in Petoskey and Synchronicity Gallery in Glen Arbor.

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