HS art teacher wins two awards in Bridge Capital’s competition

Greg Elliott, second right, poses for a photo with Bridge Capital LLC chief executive officer John Baldwin, right, after bagging the Best in Show award and second place award in the painting/open category of Bridge Capital’s 9th annual art competition. (Erwin Encinares)

A Marianas High School art teacher won two awards at the annual Bridge Capital LLC art competition at the 38th Annual Flame Tree Arts Festival over the weekend with a single piece that bagged him the Best in Show award for the whole competition.

Greg Elliott won two categories at the 9th Annual Bridge Capital art competition with his piece, called “The Passage,” which combines both abstract and realism techniques that ultimately bagged him second place in the Open Painting category and the Best in Show category of the competition.

All in all, Elliott walked away with a total of $3,500 in winnings.

“I have 5-year-old twins and they are expensive to send to school, so I’ll hand over that money to my wife…to take care of the family,” he said, laughing. “I might splurge a little bit and buy a watch, I don’t know.”

Elliott noted that this was his third time to enter the art competition. He submitted his first entry back in 2011 and won Best of Show for that year as well. His second entry was submitted in 2014.

This time, Elliott submitted two paintings that featured combinations of both abstract and realism but only one entry won awards. Both pieces took at least two weeks to finish.

“…To win two prizes for the same painting is pretty amazing,” he said. “I couldn’t be [happier].”

Earlier that day, Bridge Capital contacted him to inform him of his second-place win but not about his Best in Show prize.

Bridge Capital chief executive officer John Baldwin noted in an interview that this year’s submissions were the highest number they’ve ever had. Over 340 artists participated.

“The artists of the island seem to be getting more talented and I believe this is because of the emergence of younger people,” he said. “They are getting more interested [in art].”

“We want to give the artists of the island a chance to show their work, show their talent, and reward them for their ability to produce and present [artworks],” he added.

The competition had eight categories in all, depending on the type of art submitted.

In the 11-and-under category, Alyssa Kim’s “The Paradise” won the first-place prize of $750, while Alvin Han’s “Legend of Saipan” painting won the second-place prize of $500.

In the student category, Romel Mendoza’s oil painting called, “Know Your Roots” won the first place prize of $1,500, while Chengsi Bao’s oil painting called, “Dancing Lady” won her the second-place prize of $1,000.

In the woodwork and mixed-media category, Ireneo David’s acrylic painting on wood called, “Day and Night” won him the first-place prize of $1,500, while Michael Finey’s woodwork entry called “Tree of Life-First Breadfruit” won second place earning him $1,000.

In the photography category, Francisco Deleon Guerrero’s “Portal to the Sky” won the first-place prize of $1,500, while Myla Deet’s photo, the “Bwa’angfisch,” won the second-place prize of $1,000.

Deleon Guerrero said that this was his first time to join the competition.

“…When my mom found out that I won first place, she blew up. She really hit me hard and said [I told you so],” he said. “…I am just very excited about this win.”

Deleon Guerrero snapped a photo from within a hidden cave at the Forbidden Island looking outward. He then retouched the colors to give it a surreal look, he said.

Elliott’s “The Passage” was bested by Veronica Mendez’s oil painting in the painting category, earning her $1,500.

Jose Roberto “Obet” Aguilar’s “Gem of the Marianas,” a mixed-media piece, won him $500 as he bagged the Community Choice award, while Ireneo David’s painting called the “Bonding Home,” earned him $1,000 as he bagged the Governor’s Choice award.

Bridge Capital purchased some of the artworks, according to Baldwin. The company automatically keeps the winning artworks by default.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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