Hometown: Washington, D.C.
Current town: Landover, Maryland
Job description: Self Employed Artist, Instructor
Bio: A native of Washington, D.C., Resides in Maryland, Received her MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Rinehart School of Sculpture (2004), BFA from the Corcoran School of Art (1999). She is an Adjunct Faculty Instructor for Continuing Education, Community College of Baltimore County. Currently Michelle is a Self- employed Artist, Arts Education Instructor for various art out-reach programs. Served as a Volunteer Events Coordinator, Artomatic 2012, former Co-President WCA-DC.
Upcoming projects/ exhibits: Glenview Mansion; Symbols, Series, Selves, August 2013
What themes and concepts does your work generally revolve around?
My work focuses on the female form, often solitary figures that reflect who I am and how I view the female form in today’s society.
What are you currently working on?
Currently, I am carving a head piece out of Agata Alabaster. It’s moving toward the final stage which is sanding. I have also started a clay figure.
What’s been happening in your life/ what’s next for you?
At this time, I am volunteering in the organizations that I’m involved in while looking for employment. Also I’m looking for venues and opportunities to exhibit/display my work, as well as grants and residencies. I am curating the Glenview Mansion Exhibit in August.
Describe your current state of mind / what’s inspiring you?
My outlook on things is pretty positive; I’m looking forward to making 2013 a great year. My inspiration is the various women I see in my travels. My experiences from the past, present, how I see my future and others who inspire me through overcoming their hurdles in life. In my daily life, finding items of relevance that uplift and reflect my ideals in their own way.
Any exhibits coming up/ recent exhibits you’d like to mention?
August 2013, Glenview Mansion Exhibit, Symbol, Series, Selves. Sandy Spring Museum and Artomatic both 2012.
Is any of your work political?
I don’t think so.
Has the meaning of your work changed over time?
Yes, somewhat. When I first began sculpting, I explored natural materials such as jute, potting soil, sand to use for my armature pieces and as a texture for my clay pieces. My images were of the female form as well as spiritual forms that spoke of a mythological realm of co-existence in their own environment which were natural installations. As my work progressed and studio space changed, I scaled down my work and focused more on the female form. Exploring clay and stone as mediums to express my views and relating the pieces to my experiences as a woman.
How do you choose your subject matter?
I often look at artist’s works that inspire me, and images that strike an emotional chord with me. Take that idea as foundation to start off with, then create my own image, or, I may let the material dictate what it wants to be. This is more common when working with stone; it has to speak to me before I begin to carve. As a direct stone carver, clay mock ups don’t always translate well; it depends on what the stone has to say.
Are you involved with any organizations/ do you collaborate with other artists?
I am a member of Women’s Caucus for Art, Washington, D.C./Philly, Tri-State Sculptors, and The Art League.
I have been a long time member of WCA-DC, but I am open to new places. Haven’t really found another artist whose work is similar to mine enough to collaborate with, but I would be open to the idea.
What are some misconceptions people often have about you?
My appearance often is misleading to others as to my abilities to instruct or manage and if I am educated and knowledgeable in my field. Another misconception is that I am hard to approach, which isn’t true, I love to chat.
What were you like as a kid?
I was quiet, shy, spent a lot of time alone watching cartoons. Still do.
Gregory Maguire, Neil Gaimen, Bill Willingham, Hideyuki Kikuchi, Roberta Gregory.
Favorite comic strips/ comic books/ graphic novels?
The Sandman, Fables, Vampire Hunter D, Bitchy Bitch
What are you reading?
Jezebel, Ms., and Bitch Media Magazines, Sculpture Magazine
What was the last show (music) you attended?
Live performances at Artomatic 2012
What are you listening to these days?
Alternative Rock, Dance, Putumayo World beat.
What are a few of your favorite spots in (DC? the city in which you live):
Eastern Market, Friday’s at Foggy Bottom, Touchstone Gallery, City Place in Silver Spring, MD
Favorite artists and why?
- Rodin, his work inspires me to get as much detail into my work as possible. His rendering of the human form is exquisite and I find new curves and lines in his work every time I view it.
- Frederick Hart, his ability to render the body in motion and create flowing moving images with great detail nude or clothed is astonishing and it inspires me to create more movement in my work.
- Louis Bourgeois, Her inspiration to me is that life as an artist is never ending. No matter the age, it is who we are until the end and we should make no excuses for this gift, that we should use it as our voice and speak volumes.
- Iona Rozeal Brown, a really cool sister that combines Japanese style painting, mythology and African American culture. She inspires me to be all I can be as an artist, woman and instructor. To take my passion and through perseverance I can accomplish many things.
What was the last exhibit you attended?
Members Exhibit at Touchstone Gallery in December.
What was the first piece of artwork you bought/ do you buy a lot of artwork?
A piece from an African artist named Isabor at Eastern Market. Would love to buy more work, but for now, it’s a piece here and there.
What’s your idea of happiness?
Pursue my passion by creating art, living life to the fullest and experience new things; enjoy my family and friends, to have/give love and support, to be thankful and hopeful for a brighter tomorrow.
If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
Special Effects specialist