"Though there were several good entries, I have to admit that my eye went directly to the Duncan painting when I walked into the judging room," said judge
Claussen writes The Artside column biweekly for Applause.
Also judging the contest was
When told he'd won, Duncan said, "That's terrific news. You know, it's been tough lately. My dad passed away two weeks ago and I was able to show him my painting.
"He was very excited. I know how proud he was of me," he said of his father,
Duncan, 37, said he had a couple of friends and family that encouraged him to enter the contest.
"I like to dabble in a lot of different things. I completely enjoy the arts and how they work together," he said. "That's why I chose the cello, paintbrush and pointe shoes. With the piece, you can see where the paintbrush is painting the ribbon. That's the way I see art. Each type of art inspires the other. Sometimes I'll see a performance and it gives me inspiration to draw or to go do something. They work together; that's what drew me to it."
He's also inspired to explore the arts and share those experiences with his 4-year-old son Emerson, who could be heard chattering in the background during a telephone interview last week.
"I try to introduce my son to art, music. We've gone to see ballet, different dance."
"My whole life my mom always encouraged me to try different things. When I was real little, she put me in a painting class. That's the only formal education I had with art, but I've pretty much been doing my own thing all these years," Duncan said. "Someone would ask me to draw something or paint something. People encourage you, but you always wonder if there's an outlet for it. We prayed about it and decided, 'Why don't I try to do something with my God-given talent?' My wife, Candace, she's always seen my talents. She sees me as very art-oriented."
So now, Duncan is a full-time artist who has started to sell his work.
"Maybe this is something I should have done earlier," he said. "It's actually very enjoyable. When I'm working, I'm having fun."
He also has illustrated a children's book written by
The work of illustrating a book about twins, albeit sloths, came easily to Duncan, who has a twin sister, and who, as of
Duncan's art can been seen online at 2-john-duncan.artistwebsites.com and on his Facebook page.
A cover design by
"I appreciated the time involved in creating the Hughes piece," judge Beasley said. "The artist really attempted to represent a great deal of the arts in our community, especially downtown. A lot of work went into producing it and it shows."
"The artist populates her black-and-white drawing with references to
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