If you're planning on making some purchases at Tuscan Liquors in northwest Grand Rapids anytime soon, after you walk inside the door, you may want to take a moment to check out the ArtPrize entry that's on display, and learn it's compelling back story.
The entry is entitled, "America," and it was created by artist, D'Artagnan Little, who is currently serving time behind bars at Baraga Maximum Facility, which is un the Upper Peninsula, located between Houghton and Marquette.
Little's offenses date back to 1987 when he was first convicted of first degree criminal sexual conduct and attempted murder.
His earliest release date is 2018.
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During his three decades behind bars, he chose to take up art, using materials he was only able to obtain in prison.
Little's entry consists of several sculptures of figurines - each made of: toilet paper, soap and water (colored using a leeching process from construction papers).
"Each individual sculpture took D'Artagnan 20 hours to make," said James Danvovich, who purchased these pieces from the prison a while back, saving them from being destroyed. "D'Artagnon made these figurines mainly from memory while in isolation."
The piece represents the prisoner's conception of America, and includes many former U.S. Presidents. Dankovich says that Hillary Clinton is included with the Presidents to make a political statement. Other well-known faces include characters from the comedy show South Park, the band KISS and super heroes like the Incredible Hulk, just to name a few.
"D'Artagnan had no access, whatsoever, to any conventional materials to create these art pieces," added Dankovich. "In isolation, he only had toilet paper, water and soap.
"The construction paper, used as the colorants for the pieces, was sent to him in the form of letters from a friend."
If this piece should happen to win ArtPrize Eight, Dankovich says he plans to take the winnings and create a scholarship fund.