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The sound of battling in the name of style is stiletto heels clacking on a hardwood floor and the whir of aerosol cans of industrial strength hair spray. It's a low bass beat and the buzz of electricity, and for the winners of Style Battle 2012 This is Art, it's the sound of success. Chantal Nissim and Jenni Steele are Saugatuck retail shop owners, and along with their stellar team of hair, makeup, and photography experts, they threw creativity, color, fashion, and art into the air and caught the judges' attention and the grand prize–$2,000.

What mask are you wearing today? This is precisely the question painter Kathleen Putnam asks with her 2012 ArtPrize entry Who Is the Person You Hide? Behind our daily politically correct, people pleasing demeanor, there is a true emotion hiding, and Kathleen dares viewers to let it show.

The opening of ArtPrize may have been yesterday, but the season of creative expression started months ago for artist Barb Schilling. With a dozen blank canvases and paints of varying hues, Barb painted the progression of spring and summer as flowers opened their petals in her garden. Now, all who visit the City Art Gallery at 1168 Ionia can see what she sees in her yard everyday, and that is a beautiful thing.

Designing a room is like putting on make up, you start with the foundation and work your way up. So said Cindy Crawford, supermodel and furniture designer while visiting Grand Rapids' Art Van Furniture Wednesday night. Cindy's collaboration with Art Van Furniture is aligned with the company's vision for the future, a fresh perspective on furniture that infuses style with comfort throughout the home.
Cindy began collaborating with Art Van four years ago, but her idea for home styling manifested well before that. While she was growing up, furniture had a utilitarian purpose; if her family needed a chair, they bought a chair. Her mother didn't redo rooms at a time, she says.
Profile-Cindy Crawford2Cindy is taking this one step further by designing a furniture line that reflects a family's need for comfort and a woman's need for spaces that come alive with personal style. Cindy decorates the same way she dresses, in colors and styles that make her feel more confident. Her furniture line reflects modern trends without being too "trendy," she says. A home as well as a wardrobe should reflect the person inside.
"It's more about comfort and defining what I like, and trusting that if I like it, (it will look good)," she says. "A lot of people decorate for their neighbors or for their girlfriends, but if you don't feel good in it, you're not going to carry yourself (well). That's true of everything in life. Your home should make you feel good. When you feel good, you have confidence about it."
Cindy is constantly on the go, and between her children, 11 and 13 years old, and her work, she's juggling dozens of plates in the air at once. But balance is not a new concept for the celebrity, and she says she's found a happy medium in being honest with her abilities as a wife, mother, and businesswoman and prioritizing. She applies this in all facets of her life, including decorating her home.
"You can't do it all. You have to realize your limitations and accept that," she says. "If you have young children, it's probably not the best time to redecorate. You could buy some new pillows or paint, but to really redecorate, you need the time and energy that (the project) deserves."
For those starting out on a redecorating journey, Cindy suggests looking through magazines and cutting out photos of rooms, colors, and furniture that catch your eye. When you compile these photos, you can begin to see your tastes in colors and fabrics. Don't get caught up in too many ideas for one room, Cindy warns. Nine different styles will not mesh in one room. Choose two to implement, and save the others for different rooms of the house. When you're ready to dive into the project, start from the ground up.
"It's the same way you build your face with make up. You start with the foundation, that's the rug, then fill in with a fun eye shadow, that's the walls, pillows, throws, or window colors. Those things are the more playful accents," she says.
Wednesday was the first visit Cindy has made to Grand Rapids, and the Illinois-born model was impressed by what the city has to offer.
"You see there is style everywhere. That's great for me to see," she says.

Winner of the ArtPrize Fashion Force Challenge, Liesl Geneva is preparing to wow the audience at the upcoming Style Battle serving as the first ever “ArtPrize Ambassador.” Her clothing designs are distinct and full of spirit, so is her personality.

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