Former GRCC Biodiversity Student Exhibits Artprize Entry At GRAM

Brandy Van Zalen

Brandy Van Zalen

Brandy Van Zalen, former biodiversity student of Grand Rapids Community College and a recent graduate of GVSU, has been selected to exhibit her artwork entitled Pollen of the Great Lakes at the Grand Rapids Art Museum for the Artprize Competition, 2013.

Pollen of the Great Lakes is a series of four canvases (40 x 40) illustrating the unparalleled biodiversity and intricate beauty of tree pollen found in the Great Lakes Region. Each pollen grain depicted was created by hand-carving blocks of the actual microscopic pollen grains that were then printed with ink followed by heat embossment powders and glitters.  The powders and sparking glitters enhance the incredible three-dimensional aspects of each pollen grain.

Brandy is committed to revealing the intricacies of the natural landscape as an educational and artistic expression of her love for the intersection and connection of nature and art.  In Pollen of the Great Lakes she reveals the microscopic “Art of Nature” that is the foundation of the Earth’s reproductive and transformational potential.”

Like an artist, each pollen grain is an individual creation—no two alike—all adrift in a sea of hopeful serendipity.  But although cast on the fate of the winds, the result of this airborne pollen excess provides the underpinning of future life, ecosystem stability, and the continual remodeling of the landscape. The amazing three-dimensional diversity of tree pollen is just one portal to an unseen world awash with microscopic wonders. Pollen grains are the mobile, but fragile pioneers that define the very nature of life on Earth.  They are every bit as phenomenal as the trees that produce them and give us eternal hope for the greening of our landscape.

Brandy is currently an independent artist who illustrates children’s books authored by Dr. Matthew Douglas of GRCC. These books (Mattie the Monarch, Buddy the Buzzbomber, Zoe the Blue and Velcro) explore family values through the use of scientifically accurate animal life.  Brandy strives for connections between the fine arts, the literary world, and the natural sciences. Their children’s books have been featured on EightWest, local media, and are sold at the Frederik Meijer Garden, Schuler Books, Pooh’s Corner, and a number of other venues such as the John Ball Zoo and Blandford Nature Center.

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