ASK THE ARTIST: 12 QUESTIONS & A JOKE,
is an opportunity for our gallery supporters, friends and clients to get to know our artists a little better. It’s a fun way to get a glimpse into the personalities of the artists and at the same time connecting the artist with their art.
Hope you enjoy!! Ida Victoria
Originally from Canada, Michael first visited Mexico in 2005 traveling to Merida and throughout the Yucatan. Now almost 10 years later he and his wife have a busy studio in the small Mexican coastal town of Bucerias, Nayarit. Michael who is usually seen wearing a polo shirt and rolled up jeans with converse, is casual by nature and intense with art. He studied at the College Street Studio now known as The Academy of Art Canada in Toronto, he knows the best training comes from doing. Michael he has been commissioned internationally for his portrait work. As a disciplined artist, he paints every day and he counts Alfredo Ramon Martinez and Rufino Tamayo as major influences. In the future Michael and his wife look forward to exploring more of Mexico’s vibrant cultural and historical offerings.
“Being exposed to Mexico’s rich artistic history and natural environment has opened up a universe of inspiration and possibilities”
Q: If there was a favorite work of art you could hang or display in your home, which would it be?
MC: Any work by collage / abstract expressionist Conrad Marca-Relli. During a trip to Mexico in 1952, a lack of available painting materials compelled him to experiment with collage.
“Conrad Marca-Relli graduated from Cooper Union NYC in 1935, and began his artistic career painting cityscapes and carnival scenes in a Surrealist manner. During his service in World War II, Marca-Relli absorbed the texture, solidity and inherent formal order of the architecture of ancient and Renaissance Rome. In 1945, he returned to New York and by 1949, he was a founding member of the “Eighth Street Club,” an artists’ group whose members included Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline and Jack Tworkov. In 1952, Marca-Relli visited Mexico where the effects of sunlight on adobe brick buildings had a profound impact on the development of his work. During a period of experimentation, from his rented studio in San Miguel de Allende, he discovered collage.* Art historian William Agee wrote, “Marca-Relli’s achievement has been to raise collage to a scale and complexity equal to that of monumental painting. Since its inception in 1912 by Picasso and Braque, collage has undergone many formal transformations, yet it has remained a corollary to painting…Marca-Relli…developed it as a complete pictorial system essentially without precedent in modern art.” -Agee, William C., ‘Marca-Relli.’ Exhibition catalog, Whitney Museum of American Art: New York, 1967, p.9.
Q: If there was one dead artist that you could hang out with for a day, who would that be? Why?
MC: It would have to be Ian Fairweather, Australia’s greatest painter. His fascinating life is translated in his paintings combining Western and Asian influence.
“One of the most eccentric and unique characters in Australian art, Ian Fairweather was born in Scotland and immigrated to Australia at the age of 43. Fairweather enlisted in the British Army in 1914. Serving in World War One, he was captured by Germany as a prisoner of war and spent four years in various camps, illustrating prisoner of war magazines and learning Japanese. After being released at the end of the war, Fairweather decided to become an artist full-time, undertaking studies in Chinese calligraphy and oriental art in London and traveling extensively through Asia, Europe and Australia, taking inspiration from artists and scenes he met with along the way. During a period that he was unable to find work he lived with the local Aborigines. Here he produced his first paintings of Australia – landscapes and portraits featuring the local inhabitants and situations from daily life. In a show of his love of excitement and adventure, Fairweather set out on a solo raft journey from Darwin to Timor in 1952, only to be deported by Indonesian authorities that sent him back to London. The following year, he returned to the Pacific, building a thatch hut on Bribie Island where he would live for the rest of his life, ending three decades of relentless travel. From extremely rudimentary living conditions, Fairweather produced his most critically acclaimed works.”
Excerpt taken from: https://cookshillgalleries.com.au/pages/ian-fairweather-artist
Q: If there was a magic power you could use in your art making, what would it be?
MC: To paint every single idea that pops into my head pictorially, instantaneously.
Q: If we were going to talk about your art, where would you want to start?
MC: I have an anthropology degree and somehow it seems to be reflected in my work since coming to Mexico.
Q: What quality in others makes you want to slap them?
MC: Lack of empathy.
Q: Art is so subjective, what kind of art is unappealing to you?
MC: I like it all. I take all art in. You can even learn from what’s unappealing.