Michael Page Interview
What sets your work apart from other surrealists?
My work is different from others by the marks I make on the canvas and the flowing motion that I create with them. I never really saw myself as a surrealist painter rather someone who is always evolving , always creating and always learning. I’m really not trying to stand inside of any movement at this time.
Like Martin Wittfooth, our previously featured artist, you are exhibiting your work at the Bristol’s City Museum and Art Gallery. Has dealing with the international market been a positive experience for you? What are some of the lessons learned?
The international market has been a great experience for me. I have had nothing but love from other people throughout the world who enjoy my work. I truly appreciate each and every one of them who have been touched by my art. A few lessons that I have learned is that to make sure when shipping anything over seas use heat treated wood and send it out two weeks prior to the show so that you do not have to spend an arm and a leg to get it there on time. I also feel that traveling to your shows/openings do so much for you as an artist, by allowing people to see your face and meet you in person. It’s important for them to understand that there is a person behind the paintings.
…a gallery does not make the artist, the artist makes the gallery.
What issues do you see with today’s art schools? How can they be improved?
I have had only one experience with an art school many years back and I ended up only attending it for a semester. I felt from my own experience that depending on the instructor they only wanted to teach you how they painted and everything else was wrong, not correct or just plain silly. That was one of the main reasons why I decided that school was not for me. I also don’t think Schools teach you anything about the business end of being an artist, if that is the path a student choose’s to take. I think some of the ways that they can improve is to make it a requirement for art students to take business classes. I am sure many of the bigger art schools do make that a requirement, but I know there are many out there that do not.
In your opinion, is it better to be a self-taught artist or traditionally trained? Why?
I think that everyone who ends up painting long enough ends up pretty much being a self taught artist. There are so many tricks, ideas and techniques that you learn only by creating and making over and over again. But to ask if one is better than the other I think it’s up to the person. For me I was not into the idea of having someone tell me what to paint or what correct way to do it in. But for the next person it could be the best thing for them. I definitely feel that you do learn a lot in school and that the right professor can put you on the right track. There are also all the connections that you meet which can help you latter on as an artist in an art career.
Has your work ever been unwanted by a gallery? What adjustments did you make professionally?
For sure my work has been unwanted by Galleries. I have never felt the need to push anything that is not wanted onto a gallery either. As far as adjustments go, I just continue with what I am doing and understand that a gallery does not make the artist, the artist makes the gallery. I just paint and pass my work along to who I can and once a gallery picks me up I do my very best to show the best work that I can. I’m always trying to one up my last painting and always trying new techniques and ideas. I figure if I continue to do that than it seems hard for a gallery to not want to show different new and interesting work.
What are some examples of poor advice you have been given during your career?
I have been pretty lucky over the years and seem to have not gotten much poor advice but if I have to pick, I think it was “do not approach any galleries”. I for sure can understand why not to approach a gallery if your name is out there and people understand what you are doing but if your starting out as an artist in an art scene than it does not seem logical to follow that idea. I for sure have not followed it.
Your style of painting and the subject matter of your work seem to have evolved dramatically over the last couple of years. Was that a conscious decision?
I have completely changed what I was doing in the past and I am sure that I will continue to change and evolve. I feel that I always need to be learning new techniques when painting. There are so many different ways you can make a mark, so why stick to one. I also felt really bored trying to continue on with what I was doing and needed to learn more. I never could understand an artist who could continue and do there same shtick over and over again. It always felt too repetitive for me and it really felt like work. Once painting starts feeling like work than I have to change it up.
What should we expect to see from Michael Page in the future?
I am currently working on many new paintings for a big solo show at Shooting Gallery in February. I plan to have a lot of large scale paintings and a lot of loose flowing lines. In the distant future I can’t really tell, except that I will be probably going looser with my work and way thicker with the paint. I want to challenge myself and I am always searching in myself to learn something new and fresh.
Michael Page was born 1979, works full time as an artist and lives in San Francisco, California. He has shown throughout Europe and the U.S. and was just recently in Volume 12 of High Fructose Magazine, the current issue of DPI, an international art magazine from Asia and the current issue of Empty Magazine. Michael also has a painting in the Bristol Museum of Art in Bristol, London for the “Art From The New World” exhibition that is taking place.
With these new body of works Michael Page contemplates our planet and ecosystem as not yet seen before in our current times. By reflecting on global transformation and ecological upheaval with the aftermath of what has become and is to come.