RACINE COUNTY — Xander Niles’ prom attire is anything but the standard black tie affair, however, it is his nontraditional Duck Tape® samurai suit that’s put him in the running to win a $10,000 scholarship.
This class of 2023 graduate, who is homeschooled through Academy of Excellence, has participated in the 2023 “Duck® Brand Duct Tape Stuck At Prom®Scholarship Contest as a way to show off his creativity, and love for Japanese history, all while hopefully helping him to chip away at the expense of college.
Niles will attend Lipscomb University in the fall. His plans are to major in Mechanical Engineering and to minor in music.
When searching for scholarships to apply for with his mom, the then-senior quickly became interested in the opportunity to create an art piece that reflects his interests.
“I would consider myself a minor artist,” says Niles. “I had already done a lot with duct tape with my siblings when we were younger, so I knew what I was doing.”
“My inspiration mainly came from modern artwork of samurai,” explains Niles.
He explains that he based his design on the Great Wave of Kanagawa and the dragon, which offers a very historic connection to his duct tape masterpiece. There are even ties to different kanji (Japanese script) on the suit.
The black and gold colors resemble swords that Niles’ dad has. The red and blue both give a pop and attract the eye.
He used a variety of materials to complete this masterpiece including cardboard and acrylic paint, but the star of the show was 25 rolls of Duck® brand duct tape.
He sported his one-of-a-kind custom-made suit at a homeschool prom this year after devoting 85 hours to crafting this suit.
From his boots on the ground all the way to his hat, his craftmanship shines.
Niles awaits results
What stands between Niles and the funds is a round of voting.
He made it among the Top 10 list of finalists. In the “2023 Stuck at Prom® Gallery,” there were almost 200 entries initially.
“I was surprised,” says Niles about making the top 10.
“They’re all great. They’re all really, really well done,” says the artist about the other entries.
Voting for the $10,000 scholarship ends today. Cast a vote online until midnight tonight.
The winner of the contest will also be revealed online.
“All of them have different aspects, all entirely different styles. They all are very unique and there’s no right or wrong choice on that. And so whoever wins, I mean, they did a great job,” comments Niles.