Mixed-media artist Mister Michelle brings her love affair with form and femininity to the contemporary-art world.
Mister Michelle’s artistic trajectory has been an organic unfolding that started as far back as she can remember. “I first learned to draw when my mom bought my sisters and me our first 64-count box of crayons,” the California native recalls, “and I’ve continued to be self-taught ever since." Steady practice has rendered work that is personal without being cryptic, likely a result of her love for the outside world. After relocating to Seattle two years ago, Michelle has drawn on natural influences, joining landscape, geometry, and light through a lens of femininity that consistently places women at the center of her work. It’s a combination that delicately rides the line between the autobiographical and the archetypal. "I am in love with the female form. I’m constantly discovering different facets of femininity through my work, an interpretation of what’s inside of me and what surrounds me as a woman."
But it’s the influence of form and structure in Michelle’s pieces that may be most obvious. "[I am] instinctually drawn to shapes and patterns,” she says—and though she doesn’t make it explicit, there’s a clear sense that those shapes and patterns hold spiritual weight for her. “Geometry is a sacred language with great symbolism,” Michelle says. “It’s part of everything.” The theme of universality isn’t new to the art world, but she edges the motif with undercurrents of femininity in a way that feels singular. It’s a nuance that surfaces in her discussions of the “sensuality in curved lines,” and even of the sun: "The sun is one of few constants in our lives. She is with us every day. Without her, there is darkness.” The suggestion of the collective “her” in this statement fills the anthropomorphism with societal and political implications.
Using primarily earth and flesh-toned acrylics, gold metal leaf, and bold lines, Michelle finds a rarefied space in her expressions—the kind she hopes will produce reverberating imaginativeness. "I want people to walk away from my work feeling motivated to do what they love with confidence, thereby reinforcing a circle of inspiration."