Interview: Michaela Moffett
Luca Curci talks with Michaela Moffett during CANVAS INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2022, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Born and raised in Fullerton, California, Michaela has been formally pursuing art for 19 years. Under the instruction of Cherene Raphael, she graduated from the Art House, an independent studio in Fullerton, after attending a consecutive 10 years. Since then, Michaela received a B.F.A. in drawing and painting at California State University, Fullerton, during which, she had the opportunity to study for one year at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy, and California State University, Florence, where she created a complete body of work in oil paint. Several works from this series were then displayed in an international show involving student artists from all over the world at California State University, Florence. Post-graduation, Michaela has continued to develop her love of painting through teaching and working as a full-time artist in her studio, focusing on stretching the limits of representational painting through slight abstraction of colour and shape. She is interested in understanding how to bridge the gap between traditional and representational ideas of painting, and modern ideas of shape making and color theory by representing naturalistic environments in a more abstract manner.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Michaela Moffett – Art for me is freedom. It’s my world in which I can choose to do and make and act and say whatever I would like. I can choose if my work is seen by others or just for myself. Art is a way for me to process my thoughts and environment, a way for me to focus deeply on something in particular. I tend to get really distracted in general so when I paint it allows me to sit still and be present with myself and work through whatever I’m painting.
LC – What are your thoughts while you paint? Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
MM – Music moves me while I paint. It can hinder my ability to focus or it can lock me in. I tend to prefer songs with lyrics that pull me deep into an emotive state which can change depending on the day. Live spontaneous worship songs contain so much artistry and heart that I tend to put them on most frequently. Prior to painting, I clean my space and make sure it’s organized, otherwise, I will get distracted during the time I paint to stop and clean and interrupt my focus.
LC – How is your creative process?
MM – My process tends to be quite intuitive. I feel stifled by too much planning. Too much prep can feel bossy and I feel unable to express what I want to express at the exact moment that I’m painting because I have to follow what I already planned. I don’t mind and sometimes prefer painting over areas of my painting or shifting or moving things around while I paint. The painting itself documents my thought process as the layers build up and past ideas peek through the paint.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
MM – When it comes to my work, I don’t necessarily feel tied to painting one specific theme in everything. It has varied quite a bit depending on what moves me at the time. But, when I find something that moves me, I go all-in for that moment. I crave fresh and new so I look forward to discovering a new topic or theme or even style that I get to explore in each and every new work.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
MM – Being an artist nowadays can be quite different from past eras of the profession I can imagine. The introduction of technology and social media has greatly changed and mostly benefited the ability of the artist to connect to our own collectors rather than having to go through a brick and mortar gallery. Of course, that is still a viable option, but the opportunity that the internet provides is flexibility and the freedom to be your own gallery, essentially. However, “being your own gallery” and making it on your own creates its own set of new challenges, such as requiring more business-type education which still feels very lacking in the collegiate art education programs.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
MM – The idea of the canvas is the only surface to paint on has now evolved into an idea that describes any platform that artists use to express their creativity. I, personally, don’t paint on canvases anymore because I prefer a smoother texture. My surface is absolutely essential when working on a new project. The surface that I use determines, many times, if the piece will be successful or not, whether I battle with it, or if it becomes an asset to help me convey my expression even more easily. I find the theme engaging because this idea of “canvas” connects all creatives together.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
MM – When I think of the traditional idea of a canvas, I think of long-lasting artwork. I chose to submit these two paintings on paper because generally, we think that paper is a more transient substance. It’s disposable and less valuable. The expressions and the people I depicted also spoke to me of a similar message of a fugitive moment. They meet our gaze, like someone you pass on the street. I don’t know these people and most likely, neither does anyone else viewing this artwork. Through the loose brushwork, I mean to convey a temporary moment of connection, but soon we move on and forget.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
MM – Yes, working with ITSLIQUID has been really smooth and the people I’ve been communicating with have been very accommodating, helpful, and professional.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
MM – I definitely think so, especially for emerging artists who are looking for opportunities to build their exhibition experience and gain exposure.