Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January Member Interview: Michelle Davis Petelinz

Michelle Davis Petelinz
Blog:  Artventuring

1.  What inspires you to create?    
I'm inspired by the natural world, by color combinations I observe around me, by the motifs, patterns, and symbols of world cultures and by my desire to make the world a more beautiful place. I'm also inspired by other artists who create incredible work in a variety of media.

2.  When did you decide to pursue art, or did art pursue you?  
I've been an artist for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is of the delight I felt in opening a box of 64 Crayola crayons. That waxy smell  for me still evokes the image of my round wooden table, little black chair, and a clean white piece of paper. Later, I loved painting with fluorscent tempera (hey, it was the 70's, and black light posters were all the rage!). In college, I discovered acrylic paints, and still use them, among many other media in my work today.

3.  If you weren't an artist, what would you be?
I would teach in an elementary school. I was fortunate to be able to do a bit of that as a part time art teacher. If I couldn't teach, I'd fulfill what my mother often predicted: I'd be a librarian. To be surrounded by books and fellow avid readers would be a great joy! 

4.  What other jobs have you had which have aided you on your artistic path?
My first job after graduating college with an Art History major and Studio Art minor was in a textbook publishing company's design department. It was an excellent professional start; exposing me to the world of commercial illustration, design and photography.  It taught me the now-arcane skills of typefitting and manual page layout.  Later, as a manager, I directed the work of illustrators, art editors and designers. I found I needed a creative outlet, and turned to jewelry design. My painting took a back seat at that time, but resurfaced again once my son was born. The "job" of motherhood tested my creative abilities in many ways, and I think I've passed some of my creative abilities, and appreciation of art to him.  My first company came about because I wanted something for his nursery which I couldn't find, so I created it myself. Kindred Spirit Studios is a fusion of art, spirit and culture, as well as the creative vision I share with my artist husband, Stan.

5.  At the art supply store, which section do you gravitate to first?
It depends upon what's on sale! If I'm just browsing, I'll go to the art books section, then to the paints and most recently, to the mediums.  Actually, I do a great deal of my "shopping" in Stan's studio, which I jokingly call the art store!

6.  What technique or new art form would you like to learn?  Do you have plans to do so?
I've always been fascinated by blown glass, especially the work of Dale Chihuly. I love raku pottery, and find the work of Joseph Woodford inspiring. I recently met potter Charlotte Munning, and purchased a piece from her to add to my raku collection. Could I work in glass or raku? They're out of my comfort/knowlege zone, so I have no plans to do so now, but they're always in the back of my mind, and often inspire color or form in my own work.

7. If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you do?
I love to ask this question of people whom I'd like to learn more about!  My own answer has changed through the years. Now, it would be to open a free art school for African American girls, where they would be encouraged to develop and express their creativity in whatever medium they choose. The school would have a gallery to exhibit and sell their work, and all proceeds would be given back to the school, to provide even more opportunities for them to grow and blossom into creative, productive young women.  This is why our association with the Chavis Community Center is so exciting to me; we'll get to do something very similar to my dream!