Thomas Tunney Wins 2017 MI Great Artist Contest

Park West Gallery Thomas Tunney MI Great Artist

Thomas Tunney, winner of the 2017 MI Great Artist contest.

Thomas Tunney of Commerce Township had never exhibited his art in public until Park West Gallery displayed five of his works for the 2017 MI Great Artist contest.

So when Tunney, 57, heard his name announced as the winner of the contest during a reception held on October 25 at Park West Gallery, he was amazed and humbled.

“It’s exciting, it entices me to keep working and spend more hours painting,” Tunney says.

MI Great Artist is an annual competition launched in 2012 by Oakland County and Park West Gallery to support up-and-coming artists from Michigan. Tunney was selected from a field of 232 artists from eight different Southeast Michigan counties, narrowed down by more than 34,500 public votes and a panel of distinguished judges.

Park West Gallery Albert Scaglione MI Great Artist

Park West Gallery Founder and CEO Albert Scaglione and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson at the 2017 MI Great Artist reception.

Park West Gallery Founder and CEO Albert Scaglione, who served as a MI Great Artist judge, said one of the best decisions he ever made was moving to Michigan and is glad to support the talented artists who reside in the Great Lakes State.

“There is something special about living here,” Scaglione says. “We do have talent, and we are creative, and we are special, and we are different—and yes, we have art.”

Park West Gallery Thomas Tunney MI Great Artist

Park West Gallery Founder and CEO Albert Scaglione presents Thomas Tunney as the 2017 MI Great Artist winner. Tunney’s daughter, Brittney, inspired many of his paintings.

As the MI Great Artist winner, Tunney receives a solo exhibition at Park West Gallery, framing from Park West Gallery, a selection of business services from the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center, and a $1,500 cash prize.

Tunney, a manager with Signature Sotheby’s International Realty, began painting after high school, inspired by the art of Rembrandt van Rijn. Tunney always enjoyed painting, but his aspirations to become a musician placed art on the backburner. Around five years ago, as life began to settle, he shifted his focus back to art.

“I love creativity, I love colors, and I love beautiful things,” Tunney says about why he paints.

Park West Gallery MI Great Artist

The family and friends of Michigan artists gathered at Park West Gallery to learn who won the MI Great Artist contest.

Tunney paints using oils on panel. His style is a blend of Impressionism and realism, featuring warm colors and quick brush strokes and detailed hands and faces. Tunney is inspired by fleeting moments in time that captivate him.

“I paint in oil because I believe I can bring more life to a scene than any other medium,” Tunney says. “It allows me to express the colors of life in the most vibrant way.”

The paintings Tunney submitted are of family members, including his daughter, Brittney. She wiped tears of joy away as she and other family members joined Tunney in celebrating.

Park West Gallery MI Great Artist

Park West Gallery Founder and CEO Albert Scaglione (far left) and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson (far right) with the 2017 MI Great Artist finalists. From left: Margret Grace McDermott, Thomas Tunney, Meredith Lea Bailey, Michael Bollerud, and Jennifer M. Whaley.

The four remaining finalists each receive $375 and other prizes. The runners-up include Meredith Lea Bailey of Rochester Hills, Michael Bollerud of Taylor, Margret Grace McDermott of Clarkston, and Jennifer M. Whaley of Rochester Hills.

“I want to congratulate the other artists,” Tunney says. “Art is subjective, so any one of you could’ve been here as well.”

The reception also showcased an exhibition featuring Kenneth Hershenson, the 2015 MI Great Artist winner. The Clawson resident’s “I DO Know Jack!” paintings are photorealistic depictions of metallic jacks in various environments. Following his win as the MI Great Artist, Hershenson has his art featured in the Michigan-based ArtPrize contest in 2017 and received an exciting commission from JACK Casinos.

Park West Gallery Kenneth Hershenson MI Great Artist

2015 MI Great Artist Kenneth Hershenson speaks with a fan at Park West Gallery.

“These last two years, I just have to pinch myself,” Hershenson says. “[MI Great Artist] was a brick in the foundation, so to speak, and I’m pumped and grateful to be here at Park West Gallery.”

Hershenson’s artwork, along with the artwork of Tunney and the finalists, will be on display until November 2 at Park West Gallery.

Visitors to Park West Gallery also took the opportunity to view the recently renovated Park West Museum, which features previously-archived works from classical, modern, and contemporary masters.

Leave a comment

Prove you\'re human. *

Latest News

  • 5 Tips on How to Overcome Creative Block From Professional Artists

    Creative block can strike at any time, stifling your inspiration and grinding your productivity to a halt. It’s something anyone who has tackled a creative project has experienced at one ...
    Read More
  • Meet the Artist: 10 Questions with England’s Clare Sykes

    Clare Sykes knows a thing or two about beauty.This astoundingly accomplished English artist is an expert when it comes to capturing the majesty of the natural world on canvas. ...
    Read More
  • These 12 Works of Art Will Help You Beat the Summer Heat

    Let’s face it, as much as we all yearned for warmer weather during this past winter and spring, this summer has been a hot one.If you feel as if ...
    Read More
  • Pablo Picasso: How One Spanish Artist Changed Art Forever [VIDEO]

      Why does everyone know ...
    Read More
  • Beating the Odds: Foster Care Support Programs Are Helping Youth Succeed at College

    Antwinae McNeil didn’t have a typical upbringing. Whereas most teens hang out with their friends or enjoying family meals, Antwinae worried if she would have a place to call home.At ...
    Read More
  • Auctioneer Spotlight: Ty and Gracie Braga

    Over and over again, Park West collectors have told us that one of the highlights of their collecting experience is the lasting friendships they develop with our art auctioneers and ...
    Read More
  • Stairway to Heaven: Fascinating New Salvador Dalí Exhibition Begins U.S. Tour

    Salvador Dalí is one of the most famous artists of the 20th century, but there are far more aspects to the artist’s career than just his notoriously mind-bending paintings.This ...
    Read More
  • Celebrate Independence Day with Our Summer Sale Americana Art

    In the United States, the Fourth of July stirs up patriotism in everyone. Regardless of your background or beliefs, Independence Day is a time for the country to come together ...
    Read More
  • Park West Recruiter Wins Big on ‘The Price is Right’

    Park West Gallery Recruiter Neil Nussbaum and his wife, Hannah, have always been huge fans of “The Price is Right.”When they first met, they bonded over their shared love ...
    Read More
  • Jerusalem Post Profiles ‘Icon’ Yaacov Agam for His 90th Birthday

    “There are only a few words that accurately describe Yaacov Agam,” says Park West Gallery Founder and CEO Albert Scaglione. “‘Innovator’, ‘genius’, and, yes, ‘icon.’ The man is definitely ...
    Read More
  • New Michael Godard Sale Features More Than 30 Unique Works

    As the “Rock Star of the Art World,” Michael Godard borrows a page from his musical counterparts by searching for new and innovative ways to express himself.“I’ve always admired ...
    Read More
  • Saving Lady Liberty: How Peter Max Helped Restore the Statue of Liberty

    Iconic Pop artist Peter Max has several recurring images that he’s returned to throughout his prolific career, but perhaps none are more famous than the Statue of Liberty. Max ...
    Read More