Queen’s portrait is people’s choice

Submitted photo Artist Nicholas Schleif stands next to his painting “My Magenta Majesty” which won the ninth ArtScape’s People’s Choice Award. The painting is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, in the words of her coronation speech from 1953.

NEW ULM — The People’s Choice Award in the Ninth Annual ArtScape show was announced Tuesday by The Grand.

Nicholas Schleif won with his painting “My Magenta Monarch” which depicts Queen Elizabeth II by using a composite of varying shades of purple letters.

“My portrait is made up of her entire coronation speech, given on the 2nd of June, 1953, and depicts her as she was when she took her oath all those years ago,” Schleif said. “I actually sent her a letter containing a photo of my portrait, offering it to her as a gift, and she actually replied! She said she couldn’t accept it, but did very much like it. That was a very big moment for me.”

Schleif was inspired by the Queen’s long reign, which is now 65 years. That makes her the longest-reigning monarch alive and the 41st longest ever.

“Considering 65 years is our standard for the amount of time between one’s birth and one’s retirement, that is a long time to be wearing the crown of an entire nation, especially while keeping that nation at the forefront of global political and economic standards,” Schleif said. “She is an example of a true diplomat and proper head-of-state, especially considering today’s standards.”

The artist grew up in Comfrey and started taking art seriously about 15 years ago. For the last five years, Schleif has supported himself with his art.

He graduated from Southwest State University in Marshall. He has been exhibiting his art since 2003, according to his website nicholasschleif.com.

Schleif will return to The Grand Center for Arts and Culture for his own show. Running from Feb. 9 to March 9, 2018, it will present a collection of acrylic paintings, he said.

The next show before Schleif’s on Jan. 5, 2018, is called “Beatniks” by Hannah Newman and Joshua Schutz, according to the gallery website.

The show is described as “an exploration of defying figurative norms in contemporary sculpture” that displays “figurative works rejecting conformity, consumerism, (sic) and the concepts of time and space.”

The other winners of the ArtScape were announced during the reception. In the adult category, first through third were: Reed White with “Cupcakes,” Jeremy Redlien with “Glen Burke Invents the High 5” and Susan Beck with “Africa.”

For the student category, first through third were: Taylor Lambrecht with “Raced IMCA Modified,” Ella Frost with “Spring Elf” and Ella Landsteiner with “Birch Trees.”

More information on future shows, events and more can be found at thegrandnewulm.com.

Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at ccummiskey@nujournal.com.