Artist SinGh's controversy Article by Derek DeVries

How Not to Handle Controversy You Invited Upon Yourself – ArtPrize at The BOB
As ArtPrize opens in Grand Rapids, an actual controversy has finally broken out.
It’s not the usual controversy (ie art snobs being upset that “commoners” are allowed to express opinions on what constitutes “good art).  It’s actually controversy over work considered to be obscene.

The Background

For the uninitiated, ArtPrize is an art competition held annually in Grand Rapids, Michigan in September and October that began in 2009.  It was created by Amway heir Rick DeVos, borrowing liberally from Peter Diamandis’ X Prize for commercial space flight (which borrowed liberally from the Ortig Prize).  The way ArtPrize works is that a social platform allows both venues and artists to create profiles and seek each other out.
It’s like Art Gallery Online Dating.
There are plenty of good things about ArtPrize: it brings in millions of tourism dollars to the city, it gives artists more exposure, and it provides the public greater access to art which they would never otherwise see.
What I don’t like about ArtPrize is that its design ensures that only a sanitized, heavily-vetted collection of work actually gets seen by the public.  While the borders for ArtPrize venues are large, prime placement is right downtown along the Grand River – and very, very, very few people venture beyond that spot to see the works stashed inside businesses or placed on lawns at the periphery of the city.  ArtPrize ends up being Art Lite (with half the calories of regular art).

The Controversy

An artist named SinGh (who has previously had an entry in the parking lot of the B.O.B.) had his ArtPrize entry summarily stuffed in a garbage container by Doug Gilmore (owner of the B.O.B.) where it was installed.  To add insult to injury, an email was sent to SinGh warning him that his controversial sculpture was inappropriate and needed to be removed AFTER it had been pitched in the dumpster.
For his part, Gilmore claims that the entry was not what was agreed upon when the B.O.B. agreed to host SinGh.  For his part, SinGh claims he gave them the bare details of “an installation piece” and the B.O.B. agreed without asking further questions.

Why This Was Handled Badly

There are many problems with this situation from both an artistic and public relations standpoint.  First – ask yourself this? Would anyone who is actually a regular patron of the B.O.B. actually boycott the establishment if it hosted a controversial work of art during ArtPrize?  Hardly.
  • Hyperbolic Overreaction: There’s no need to have rushed into tossing the sculpture in the trash.  It’s highly likely an amenable solution could have been worked out quietly between the venue and the artist with no one the wiser.  The considerable connections of the Gilmore Group could likely have found the artist placement elsewhere on short notice if it came to that.
  • The B.O.B.’s Unique Role in Art:  It’s especially problematic that the B.O.B. is the venue that reacted so fervently to this situation because the B.O.B. routinely hosts cultural events.  They have Dr. Grins Comedy Club – where comedians from across the US (many of whom have said controversial things) perform.  The B.O.B. has several stages where musicians perform – likely many of them have also performed controversial works.  The B.O.B. has undertaken a measure of personal obligation to uphold artistic freedom because it’s how they make money.  It’s baldly hypcritical for them to censor this art given their unique position.
  • There’s No Such Thing As Bad Publicity: This remains true in large part.  People would likely have flocked to the B.O.B. to see the controversial entry (which is the entire reason the Gilmore Group opens the B.O.B. parking lot to artists in the first place).  They’ve now reduced the incentive to visit their premises during ArtPrize.

A Better Way

I would love to see ArtPrize actually stand up for free speech and restructure how it handles the matching process.  Rather than forcing artists to reveal what precisely their pieces will be, they should submit ONLY their physical space requirements and needs (electrical access, shelter from the elements, wifi, etc.).  Better yet, have the process be completely anonymous: don’t even allow venues to see which artist a request is from.
While venues might cringe at this – it actually immunizes them from criticism.  If they don’t know anything about the pieces they’re inviting into their space – they can’t be held accountable for the content of what they host.

What We Learn

From a Public Relations standpoint – here are the take-aways:
  1. Do thorough research before any endeavor. (Research is the key to virtually all successful promotional campaigns.)
  2. Have a plan and stick to it.  (It’s impossible to anticipate every eventuality, but there should always be a crisis PR plan in place and it should be able to guide you in handling situations like these.)
  3. Build relationships that allow for open dialogue between all parties in a situation.  (Avoid situations where you can’t trust all the parties in a partnership – particularly the higher the stakes are.)
  4. Don’t react too quickly or react based purely on emotion. (Simmer down. Judge slowly. Mull it over.  Resist the pressure we’re under in this age of ubiquitous social media.)
  5. Consider all of your publics when making a decision.  (Sure, the B.O.B. may have appeased a handful of people who might object to SinGh’s piece – but that comes at the expense of the entire artistic community.)

Artist SinGh Banned From ArtPrize Forever


Artist SinGh  with a drawing from his "Project Holy Cow" series
Artist SinGh with a drawing from his "Project Holy Cow" series
Photo: Courtesy
Each year around this time, Grand Rapids, Michigan, welcomes all comers to town with ArtPrize, a massive, open art contest, awarding more than half a million in prizes. The ecumenical spirit is part of the point, but there are evidently limits, and this year the irascible, self-described “stunt artist" who goes by the name Artist SinGh has at last found them: He has been banned for life.
"We did prevent him from entering in this and future years," ArtPrize director of exhibition Kevin Buist told MLive. "It's the last thing we want to do. It's something we never want to do again."
Just what do you have to do to get the boot from a contest specifically designed to be for everyone? Basically, be really, really irritating. Here's his track record: Two years ago, SinGh—who lives in Kalamazoo and whose real name is Gurmej Singh—had a very public spat with the owner of a local ArtPrize venue over Captivity, which involved him hanging a life-sized effigy of Saddam Hussein in a cage, with the promise to explore bestiality and the "rape of Oprah" during the installation's run. After a war of words in the press, the show did not go on, with SinGh burning his remaining work in protest and threatening legal action.
Artist SinGh's Captivity in ArtPrize 2012
Artist SinGh's Captivity in ArtPrize 2012
Photo: Courtesy Photo: Courtesy
Last year, he returned with a more conventional-sounding project, getting permission for a large painting to be installed on a fence in a local park. However, the weekend before the contest, SinGh revealed that he had expanded his vision from 30 feet to three miles, unfurling a canvas that wound through the city. Buist says the painting blocked traffic and “violated basic safety." Nevertheless, SinGh succeeded in scoring an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for longest painting.
Map of the "World's Longest Painting" route in Ann Arbor
Map of the "World's Longest Painting" route in Ann Arbor
Photo: Courtesy
In the face of such a back story, ArtPrize acted this year and banished SinGh from participating, forever-more. Still, organizers couldn't stop him from taking part in his own way during the festivities. He has been posting drawings from his “Project Holy Cow" series in windows throughout town, to the mild irritation of at least two local business owners.

See the other Side of the story in the video below:

Drip painting by Artist SinGh

Artist SinGh, Drip Painting, Pear 600

Drip painting by Artist Singh

Artist SinGh , Drip Painting, Vases 101

Other works from Vases series are available contact the studio for more information

news: Artist Singh Show Episode 10 on drip painting coming soon....

News: Artist SinGh Show on Drip painting will be aired on Wednesday, may 27th, 2015

Artist Singh Show, Episode 10,  is about a famous technique of painting called Drip Art. Watch him create art  with fluid enamel paint. In 2012 Artprize contest he was top 25 and his drip painting won huge appreciation for being a very power piece that depicted life at best.  learn more about his technique in this show. Watch a Special interview with the collectors that buy Artist Singh's drip paintings.

news: New show on Drip painting coming soon...

Artist Singh Show, Episode 10,  is about a famous technique of painting called Drip Art. Watch him create art  with fluid enamel paint. In 2012 Artprize contest he was top 25 and his drip painting won huge appreciation for being a very power piece that depicted life at best.  learn more about his technique in this show. Watch a Special interview with the collectors that buy Artist Singh's drip paintings.

Power of Women

Scratching her foot

some peopel do listen to the music in my art...

News: Artist Singhs month of May Posters

"Some people do listen to the music in my art even though I am not playing"-Artist Singh

Painting above is from "rape of oprah" series and is available for sale. Please contact the studio for more information.

News: Artist SinGh studio-New Series on Bathroom Art is Coming soon

Coming soon Bathroom Art Series. You can Purchase the originals from Artist SinGh Studio and prints are available on

When you need a break play pool its not all that BAD

Advantages After long hours of painting in the studio one hour of exercise has its benefits but shooting pool is not all that bad either. 


Artist Singh, Kalamazoo, Michigan

A. Hand and eye co-ordination is a skill learned while playing. (Helps me in Art)
B. Creates a competitive spirit in a team or individual situation.
C. Enhances communication skills.
D. Allows for competition without physical abuse.
E. Develops decision making as an individual or in a team concept.
F. Develops an inner strength through competition.
G. May be palyed as an intense or relaxing sport.
H. Develops an ability to think on ones feet
I. May be played by almost anyone regardless of age or sex and with only rare physical restrictions. Many homes now have a table in the family room where all members of the family have an opportunity to enjoy this facinating sport.

love is Beautiful an art show by Artist Singh

love is beautiful worlds
Largest art show by an individual
Coming soon to Grand Rapids Michigan in September 2015

Studio News: next show on Rape and peace bomb


Coming soon Episode 6
"Rape of operah winfrey"
We are filming this week at Artist Singh Studio.

Kama Sutra- A drawing on Love

I am filming tomorrow fifth episode of Artist Singh Show. The show is about the worlds Longest Drawing called "Kama Sutra." Its being shot in my Studio in Kzoo.

Artist Singh Show Epoisode 4


Worlds Longest Drawing
Episode 5
Controversial show that depicts sexual positions from Kama Sutra
Its a must watch !!

Artist SinGh Show 4 ( worlds longest painting controversy)

Artist Singh Show 4 about the worlds longest painting that became controversial. I was banned from the Artprize for making worlds longest still life of PEARS.
I displayed the painting without permission. Since the project was costing about $100,000, I was left with no choice but to go ahead with or without permission.
Watch the Show more details...

Artist Singh Show

This Wednesday I'm helping film Artist Singh Show for Artist Singh Art TV... you can watch the show on Charter cable, Channel 188 and my YouTube channel (
This will help my collectors and my fans to learn more about me- what I am working on , my currents and future projects, new art, work in progress, new murals outside, up coming auctions and my daily life and my art in general .

LOVE IS BEAUTIFUL : love is beautiful

Sell Art OnlineSell Art Online

love is Beautiful by Artist SinGh

"love is Beautiful" Art show by Artist Singh
September  2015 Grand Rapids MI USA
Also Check out Artist Singh Show on YouTube channel:


LOVE IS BEAUTIFUL : About "LOVE IS BESUTIFUL": "LOVE IS BEAUTIFUL" is an art show by Artist Singh that is taking place in Grand Rapids Michigan in September 2015 and then move ...

About Artist SinGh And his Art 2015

Have you seen him?  He dangles from the end of a crane line holding a canvas, producing a piece of art work.  He rides a bicycle backwards, holding a canvas, producing a piece of art work.  He goes after  Guinness world records for the longest canvas painting and then he cuts it up and gives it away.  This guy, a stunt artist or is he a "real" artist performing stunts for recognition of his artwork. 
Artist's work, regardless of the stunts, must speak to the audience for recognition.  The Artist SinGh, is a man possessed of a passion to produce art since he was a child.  He is a product of the time and culture he lives in as each recognized artist is.  Then the drama and tension sets in,  will he be recognized. How or what does an artist have or need to be recognized for what he is offering up.

Each of Singh" images, pleasant or controversial is taking the viewer to see another aspect of the self.  Who are we in the world?  Who do we want to become in this world?  We now live in a one world mentality and awareness.  What is happening to one is affecting the all.  We all survive or we all perish.  A hundred years ago we lived in very separate well defined social order of who belongs where.  That line has disintegrated. There are still haves and have-nots, the rich, the poor, and the in between, but the outside structure, the rigidity is gone.  Remember when we struggled to color inside the lines.  In the same way we are able, in a universal social order, to move up or down or sideways,  That symbolic confining line is not present in Singh's work.  Singh constructs his images by tapping into a universal energy we are now all aware of and just beginning to understand through new sciences like fractals.  Singh literally, sings the image to life and the viewer is entranced to see the image take form though a series of curved lines and just a touch of color.

Celebrities by Artist Singh

The celebrity Series are now available and originals are for sale via my studio. Selected Prints are available at
Visit my YouTube channel to watch more celebrities in this series and don't forget to subscribe:

Deep Sea fantasy by artist singh

Now working on " Deep Sea fantasy Series. All originals are on canvas available via my studio and prints are available at

Artist SinGh working on Deep Sea Fantasy Series
The Great Shark 1

Buy the Print

Line art

The line art technique is being promoted by Artist SinGh world wide now. He has been traveling the world to display his line drawing art. Artist Singh's magical drawings produces an imaging emotions reaction among the viewers.
He has completed about 5000 drawing alone this year. Artist recently finished series of paintings on "Kids Art" is quite exciting for children. "I started line art in 1995 but now I have focused greatly on LINE ART in 2012 and 14.
Line is a mark made using a drawing tool or brush. There are many types of lines: thick, thin, horizontal, vertical, zigzag, diagonal, curly, curved, spiral, etc. and are often very expressive to human eye. But in 2013 and 14, I totally restricted  myself just to a straight line and accomplished thousand of drawings and paintings  just using a straight line. sometime I wonder if I can do so much with just a line, imagine, how much more is out there to explore."
This (straight line) basic tool for Artist SinGh  has become a channel to show total arrangement of emotions in his drawing and paintings. You can see more of "Art of lines" on his YouTube channel also subscribe to see more art in future.
Thank you !
-Mike O'love