Michelle Becker grew up in Sharon MA. She had always enjoyed making things; drawing, painting various arts and crafts were her favorite activities. The realization that art could be something she could be serious about occurred when taking a summer school art class with Mr. Donnelly, the eighth-grade art teacher, encouraged her potential. From then on that’s all she thought about becoming.
Michelle earned a BFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1987. While at school she had the opportunity to spend her Jr. year abroad studying at the Studio Art Center International (S.A.C.I) in Florence Italy.
Struggling to find her footing as an artist, Michelle took a hiatus that ended up lasting 20 years. During that time, she earned an MBA from Suffolk University, Boston MA. In 2016, she during the turbulence surrounding the 2016 Presidential campaign and aftermath, Michelle returned to her art practice to find solace and deal with the anxiety of an uncertain future.
Michelle currently lives in Tampa Florida and has shown locally in the greater Tampa Bay area, including: The Disco Dolls Studio, The Portico, and The Bailey Matthews Seashell Museum.
"Michelle works primarily with oil paint, oil sticks and charcoal on canvas. She is interested in exploring visual storytelling without the trappings of realism. By focusing on the elements of painting and drawing: color, mark making, shapes and texture she creates an opportunity for the viewer to engage in a conversation with the work itself to uncover a story of their own making. The Use of contrasting colors further enhance that conversation within the painting."
Tell us a little about yourself and your background in the arts.
I grew up in Sharon MA, which is a small town about 17 miles Southwest of Boston. I'd always loved making things and doing arts and crafts as a kid. The summer between 6th and 7th grade I took a summer school class with Mr. Donnelly, the 8th grade art teacher. He was the first teacher to take an interest in my artistic pursuits. It's at that moment that I realized I could maybe be good at this art thing.
I attended the University of MA, Amherst where I earned a BFA in Studio Art/Painting in 1987. I was also able to spend my Jr. year abroad at Studio Art Center International in Florence, Italy.
After college, I struggled to find my footing and artistic identity, which eventually led to a 20 year hiatus from any serious pursuit. In 2016, during the chaos of the Presidential election and aftermath, I found myself returning to my art practice as a way to relieve anxiety and stress
What kind of work are you currently making?
One of the reasons I struggled as an artist in the past, was believing that my work had to be about something "important" and I didn't know what I wanted to say, when what interested my about art making, was the making. Color, texture, mark making etc. I noticed that when I went to museums and galleries, I would get up close to a painting to see what was going on.
I'm finally at a point, where I realize that what I'm interested in is what I'm about as an artist. My current work is about allowing myself to enjoy and explore those same elements, color, texture, mark making. In addition, I'm interested in visual storytelling, but not in a literal sense. How can I create a story with limited to no representational references? Much like a piece of instrumental music conveys a story or feeling, how do we do that visually?
What is a day like in the studio for you?
I work a full time job not related to art, so I don't have a full time art practice. I've found I'm most creative in the early morning, so my studio time is normally for an hour or 2 in the morning before work.
I recently got a new job that allows me to work from home permanently. So I decided to move my studio to my living/dining room area in order to separate my work space from my studio space. It's actually working out well, because now there is distinction between "work" life and "studio life".
What are you looking at right now and/or reading?
Instagram has been great for exposing me to different artists without needing to go out to galleries, museums or purchase books. The work that I'm currently drawn to at present are: Gary Komarin, and Clintel Steed.
Currently I'm reading "Unleashing the Artist Within" by Eric Maisel, PhD. and for fiction "The Evening and the Morning" by Ken Follett
Where can we find more of your work?
I have a show coming up in February 2023 at the Kotler Gallery: John F. Germany Public Library in Tampa Florida. For the most up to date goings on, people can find me on instagram @michellebeckerartist. My formal website, is mbecker.artspan.com