WORLD’S BEST FIGURE IMPRESSIONISTS: YOUNG, JIE, ROSSOUW, MACGILLIVRAY, ZHENG, TICHSHENKO, SIRBU & PIER

Figure impressionists from USA, China, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Kazakhstan, Romania and Spain take biggest wins in Category 21 of the 2018 AMERICAN ART AWARDS.

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This year the American Art Awards (www.AmericanArtAwards.com), juried by the 25 Best Galleries & Museums In America (listed below), had online art images in 50 categories submitted from artists in 59 countries: Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, El Salvador, England, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Greece, Haiti, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, UK, Ukraine, USA, Venezuela.

The 1st Place to 6th Place winners in all 50 categories will be revealed in the news about a category a day — stretching into November, making this one of the longest winner announcements of any art competition in the world.

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Ken Young’s boyhood passion was to draw. Growing up in Hudson, NY he’d marshal his spare change to buy Marvel and DC Comics, then meticulously copy the fanciful characters that populated their pages. “I was fascinated by cartoon art,” recalls Young. “The energy and the boldness of the images really captured my attention.” His next furtive step into the world of art was to acquire some paint-by-number kits, “which weren’t great art, but I was ten years old, and they taught me detail and precision.”

From comic books and paint-by-number kits to a real art course was a leap of faith for Young and his family. Relying on his tenacity and dedication, however, when the salesman for Art Instruction Schools called to follow up on Young’s “Draw Me” submission, which Young had dutifully sent in as response to one of their ubiquitous match book or magazine ads, the decision was made “It was expensive, for us, at least.” Young remembers the stress on his mother’s family budget that the tuition placed. “But I promised to stay with it…and I did.” Every few weeks, Young would receive another instruction book and an assignment. Every week, in the evenings after his homework was finished and on weekends when his friends and classmates were out “being kids,” Young was working at home, being an artist.

By the time he was in high school, people in town recognized that this was more than a passing fad. Ken Young was an artist. In fact, when he missed the day of portrait photography for his senior yearbook, the staff asked him to do a sketch of himself. That’s what appeared over his name.

“I had a high school art teacher who knew how serious I was reflects Young. “He’d let me take home a canvas and some paints to work with at night.” Those were oil paints. “I used to walk to school because I didn’t want the wet paint to get damaged while riding on the bus.” When Young graduated from high school in 1975, there were several scholarship offers sitting on the kitchen table. Art school could be in the future. Perhaps the pressure was on. Perhaps it was time for a change.

But Ken Young stopped being an artist. “It was almost 20 years,” he says wistfully, recalling how life’s road can offer so many twists and turns. “I became deeply involved in the study of Scripture. I fell in love. We got married. Our son was born and I had a family to support.

Young worked with his hands, spending years at WB McGuire when they had a local plant. From factory work, Young moved to being a caretaker at a local estate owned by insurance executive James McMahon. “He loved airplanes,” recalls Young “There was a time he wanted to open a museum, so when he found out that I had been a painter, he asked me to create some posters during the winter.”

Ken Young, the artist, was back “When I delivered the posters, he asked me to do paintings of vintage airplanes. They were going to be in the museum.” Young had never tried to create

images of historic aircraft, but the challenge was real and his pent up desire to create art won out. “I must have done 20 paintings of aviation history-the planes and the adventurers. It was only when the notion of the museum didn’t work out that I was back to balancing income for my family with the passion for painting that just wouldn’t go away.”

The years flowed by and Young gravitated to working on house painting crews…until the day he realized “I knew I could do this, so I started my own business. Things were going along OK, and one day my wife and I took a trip to the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown MA. “I had never seen Monets and Sargents in person, before, and that day changed my life.”

Young was so smitten by the work of the masters hanging in the Clark’s galleries that he laughingly recalls being asked to step back from the paintings on several occasions “The brush work, the technique, the use of color, the use of light! I was blown away!” Making the commitment takes dedication as well as motivation. When the Columbia County Council on the Arts announced a juried exhibition of portraits with the theme “face to face,” Young was, as he affirms, “back on fire.” The result was a painting entitled: “Looking back” that told his story starting with that yearbook sketch from high school graduation, to 2009. “It’s in my blood,” he admits. “I can’t not paint.”

What started with that self-portrait became a torrent of activity. Hudson, the town where he had grown up, had changed. Now there were galleries and trendy restaurants and antique dealers. He started painting views of Warren Street-the store fronts, the people on the street, the ebb and flow of that vibrant destination.

As Young continued to let the fire burn brightly, galleries and art centers took notice There were solo shows and invited participation in small group shows. Ken Young’s story should have a happy ending and hopefully it will. Today there is still the need to balance painting houses with painting street scenes, recognizing that when rainy days make it impossible to work on area homes, they are great days to peer through the windows distorted by rain and capture the soul of a village. “I look at my paintings as a way of delivering information,” suggests Young. “They tell a story, evoke a mood and allow the person to bring their own interpretation to what they see.”

By CB Wismar / Main Street Magazine

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CATEGORY 21. IMPRESSIONISM — HUMAN

1ST PLACE KENNETH YOUNG USA www.kennethyoungfineart.com “Waiting At The Train Station” 24x18" Oil on canvas.

2ND PLACE ZHUANG JIE CHINA 651862835@qq.com “I Want To Tell You” 60x50cm Oil on linen.

3RD PLACE ZHUANG JIE CHINA 651862835@qq.com “No One Can Tell” 70x80cm Oil on linen.

4TH PLACE ROELOF ROSSOUW SOUTH AFRICA www.art.co.za/roelofrossouw “Xhosa Man With Pipe” 18x24" Oil.

5TH PLACE-TIE SANDRA MACGILLIVRAY CANADA semacgillivray@gmail.com “The Long Good Bye” 24x20” Acrylic.

5TH PLACE-TIE LI XIAO ZHENG AUSTRALIA 33092121@qq.com “Yingzi” 80x80cm Oil on canvas.

6TH PLACE-TIE YAROSLAVA TICHSHENKO KAZAKHSTAN https://istrameen.wixsite.com/tichshenko
“Suzanne” 65x75cm Oil on canvas.

6TH PLACE -TIE ANCA LUIZA SIRBU ROMÂNIA/SPAIN picasoo2006@yahoo.es “Alejandro” 97x130cm Acrylic on board.

6TH PLACE-TIE BRIAN PIER USA bepier@yahoo.com “Summer Shade, Grant Park” 20x24” Oil on canvas.

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This year’s 25 Best Galleries & Museums asked to vote on art were:

BEST IN ALABAMA — ALABAMA CONTEMPORARY ART CENTER
BEST IN ARKANSAS — FORT SMITH REGIONAL ART MUSEUM
BEST IN CALIFORNIA — REVOLVER GALLERY
BEST IN COLORADO — COLORADO FINE ARTS CENTER AT COLORADO COLLEGE
BEST IN FLORIDA — LIK FINE ART MIAMI + LIK FINE ART KEY WEST
BEST IN ILLINOIS — TRICKSTER ART GALLERY
BEST IN KANSAS — BIRGER SANDZEN MEMORIAL GALLERY
BEST IN KENTUCKY — E&S GALLERY
BEST IN LOUISIANA — NEWCOMB ART MUSEUM
BEST IN MASSACHUSETTS — BOSTON SCULPTORS GALLERY
BEST IN MISSISSIPPI — THE OHR-O’KEEFE MUSEUM OF ART
BEST IN MISSOURI — UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI MUSEUM OF ART AND ARCHEOLOGY
BEST IN NEBRASKA — KIECHEL FINE ART
BEST IN NEVADA — THE METROPOLITAN GALLERY OF LAS VEGAS ART MUSEUM
BEST IN OHIO — LEE HAYDEN GALLERY
BEST IN OKLAHOMA — JOSEPH GIEREK FINE ART
BEST IN OREGON — JORDAN SCHNITZER MUSEUM of ART
BEST IN PENNSYLVANIA — JAMES A. MICHENER ART MUSEUM
BEST IN SOUTH CAROLINA — MARY MARTIN GALLERY OF FINE ART
BEST IN SOUTH DAKOTA — SOUTH DAKOTA ART MUSEUM
BEST IN TEXAS — ART ON 5TH
BEST IN UTAH — THE LEONARDO
BEST IN WASHINGTON — MARYHILL MUSEUM OF ART
BEST IN WEST VIRGINIA — WEST VIRGINIA STATE MUSEUM
BEST IN WISCONSIN — MUSEUM OF WISCONSIN ART

Enter art at www.AmericanArtAwards.com

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