Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Interview with Artist, Michael Brown


"Shame" by Michael Brown
Born into a family of artists in St Louis, Michael Brown can't remember life before art. He currently resides in Kansas City.
Seeing Michael’s art brings many emotions to the surface. His art is very detailed, you can feel and see the emotion in the subjects he draws. It’s pretty powerful stuff. He has mad talent!...Those are just a few things said of his work.

Michael, thank you for participating in this interview. I’ve followed you on facebook for over a year now, and I can’t quite remember how I found you, but I’m glad I did. I love seeing your artwork, and the daily quotes always give me something to think about. I wanted to be able to share that with others, and here’s my chance.
Do you go by Michael, or Mike? Either is fine, really.
I have to ask, do you enjoy reading? If so, what genre’s?
I thoroughly enjoy reading; I've had a love for books and reading dating back to early childhood. I don't have an exact genre of books that I read, I go across the board, it's really what strikes my interest from biographies, a little bit of fantasy, but not much, really not my bag, give me reality! I generally love my books like I love my ART, rooted in some form of reality! I went thru this phase though, a few years back when I was first homeless and dealing with the trauma of that, by reading Jude Deveraux books. I think I read about 10 of her books. She always wrote strong female characters that started off in conflict with the leading man in the story. Same formula in most of her books but they were entertaining enough to keep my interest, even though her books run close to the romantic novels. Haven't read her stuff in a while though, no more time for it :)
Also, I think her books at the time were a way for me to escape from an over dose of REALITY having to go thru being homeless for the first time. The experience of losing a place to live, your personal items, and generally having your whole home life uprooted rattles the soul and takes some adjusting! Reading books was a way for me to escape in my mind as a child and such as an adult. It was a healthy choice I made long ago rather than latching on to drugs, alcohol and other means people generally use to deaden themselves to certain realities. I have many favorite books for many reasons, those are listed also in my section on facebook, but I'm a huge John Steinbeck fan right now. A friend got me on to him a few months back, In Dubious Battle was my first read of his work and I fell in love with his style of writing ever since, 10 books deep into his stuff.

Do you have a favorite book you could read over and over again?
I'm not big on reading things over no more than I am big about doing anything I've enjoyed in life over again. I know there is a natural tendency for us as humans to overdo things as far as what brings us pleasure. But I have found that over indulgence in anything can not only ruin your appetite for a thing, but kill the original feeling for the experience. So for me, one read is enough, there are other books and experiences to have with the next read!
When did you first start drawing? And when did you know you were good at it?
I don't remember when I first started drawing cause as a child, everyone is an artist. Before you learn how to write, you learn how to draw, right? I have 10 other brothers & sisters, and all of them were artists before me. So growing up ART was part of my DNA from the get go. I was surrounded, all the time by art made by older brothers & sisters. I can't remember a time when ART was not part of my life. There wasn't a definite age, as soon as I was able to pick up a marker or crayon, I was an artist!
I got encouragement from my family throughout my childhood that I was good at ART, again for me, it wasn't a matter of recognizing whether I was good at it or not, it was something I did to express myself because that was the example set before me. You just know when you are gifted at certain things and not in other; you don't necessarily have to be told these things. I think as children we are very intuitive about things and we are more in tune with ourselves, as we get older, if we don't learn to protect that natural gift we are given, we dull our senses and dummy down to fit in with the rest of society. This is something we are taught to do at a very early age, something I always resisted too! Thankfully, my mother was a strong and interesting woman who raised her kids to celebrate their individuality, I soared with her support!

At what point in life did you realize you could go public with your art work?
I think I was 10yrs old when I had my first serious art showing, and my brother Sylvester Brown Jr. bought my first painting of a horse running on a moonlit beach :) In my junior year of high school, I participated in Commercial Arts in a trade school for my final two yrs. I learned that I could make a career out of being a full time artist. I got my first start as a business man in my senior year when I was graded by my teacher for doing portrait drawings for the teacher staff and students, he ran out of things to teach me, I excelled in the class! Graduated top of my class and I was set on doing ART for a living, took me 15 yrs though before that was a reality!

What inspires you to draw? Do you have any kind of rituals you do before (or during) a piece?
What inspires me to draw is the human experience in all its various states of BEING! People's stories & experiences are a constant reservoir of inspiration, plus I'm inspired by beauty in its many forms as well! No special ritual for working on ART other than the fact that I MUST have music to listen to while I draw. Not only does MUSIC take my mind off what I'm doing but it inspires the art as well. I get lost in the music and draw, the only way for me to work! I can't draw with anyone looking over my shoulders or total silence, must be MUSIC!
Are all of your subject’s real people? If so, how do you find them? 
All the subjects I draw are real people for sure, it is one of the main reasons I draw it, cause it's based in reality! I find a great deal of them or they contact me thru facebook. This site has been a wonderful site for connecting with people all around the world. I'm currently working on a 5 collage portrait of a friend of mine who lives in Australia that I met and stay in contact with on facebook. His father recently died from cancer, he was the only living parent in my friend's and sister's life growing up and he lost his mother at 6 months. So all he has ever known as a parent is his father who passed away a few days after his 60th Birthday. He was given the news about his father's illness a week before he was scheduled to come back from a 3 month world trip he took. He spent the final two weeks at his father's side, his father's life touched many people, and thus the inspiration to do the 20x30" portrait that has to be shipped off in time for a December memorial service in Melborne, Australia. It's a big job, but when it comes to art and the inspiration, no matter the cost I will do it if I feel strongly about it. The ART as a whole doesn't make me a lot of money, without the help of soup kitchens, free programs that take care of my basic needs and shelters; I could not survive as a business. My needs are small so I'm able to make do with any kind of money I get from the ART which is infrequent. I make just enough to keep me hanging on, like an addict! Once you make your own money, your own way, off the labor clock, it is very addictive. It's like being let in on a secret life that most are unaware of and which spoils your viewpoint to how you have to make a living then. For me ART is more than a way to make money, it is truly a way of life and for better or worse; I'm in this thing for life! No turning back, no going back to part-time or secular work, I make the situation work cause it has to work, no other alternative. It is by choice as well as by WILL!

Your artwork depicts many things; love, religion, emotion, drug use, homosexuality, patriotism, sensuality, and much more. Is there any one thing you won’t draw? Why or why not?
Back in the day, when I was more of a religious person & quite frankly a politician, there were many subjects in ART I wouldn't dare touch, such as the homosexuality that is now evident in my ART! Everything in ART for me is a process of change; you have to be that way in order to be relevant in ART. As I grew and changed my perspective on things and chucked a great deal of my religious conditioning growing up throughout the years, I became more open, less fearful of the good opinions of others. To let things naturally take place creatively and spiritually both at the same time as an artist & person has been a process, to where now, I don't think there is anything I would not draw if the subject matter interests me. It's no longer a matter of will this drawing or subject matter offend someone else's belief or religion. It's more of, is drawing this picture necessary or relevant to what I believe or how I currently see things, that's all!

Where can people find you online? https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=537334385       
(If you go to the info tab on Michael’s facebook page, he has other business and art gallery links listed).
Last, but not least, can you share with us five things about Michael Brown, that fans might not know.
1)      My full name is Michael Floyd Brown, always hated my name in its entirety. Michael is too plain & common, Floyd is way too country, and Brown is too much of pun for my skin color.
2)      I was born into a family full of artist, all 11 of us are artists, but I was the only one who chose art as a profession instead of a hobby.
3)      I'm the only person in my family of 11 brothers in sisters who has never been married or had any children.
4)      I hate labels of any kind; it is a pet peeve of mine that really annoys me about most humans. We do it without thinking about it and even I'm guilty of doing it more times than I will ever fess up to.
5)      I was also born into the religion Jehovah's Witness. (Although he no longer practices it).
I think ultimately, I would love for the ART to give me financial freedom so I can travel the world, the last big wall to get over! That money wall is a bitch to get over! A dream to have the freedom to go where I want when I want - without the worry of having to take care of my basic needs, and deal with the harsh & hard grip of poverty would be the final act of emancipation for me! I have had to struggle for a long time for the simplest of things and as I go along, year by year, I can see that financial freedom is a very strong possibility for me. I have to just keep plugging away at the ART and what will turn up from that. I will just keep right on till the results come in. FREEDOM, emotional, spiritual, and physically is what I'm always after, not only as an artist but as a person! I think we have far too many rules and things, teachings that enslave us to a life that we don't have to have. If you stay focused on your goals and firm in your steps to whatever you want to do with your life, then ultimately I think you will achieve it, ART has the ability to do all those things for me!

Thank you, for your time, Michael. I wish you all the best! I’ll be seeing you on facebook! 
***Interested in Michael’s art?
If you are interested in purchasing any of Michael's work, or would like to commission Michael to draw a piece for you (based on a photograph that you provide), leave him a message on facebook, or contact him at ptmikebrown@yahoo.com Check his facebook page under the “info” section for pricing. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=537334385




4 comments:

  1. I loved this what a great idea! I'm seriously impressed with his amazing artistic skills.

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  2. What a wonderful interview, with such heart felt, honest answers. Thank you so much for sharing xx It was highly enlightening to learn how an artist creates their masterpieces, which is in many ways, mirrors how us writers create our stories.

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  3. He is an amazing artist with a great eye to detail. I've always wanted the gift to draw as I too came from a family of artist. I was always jealous so I painted with words instead. You are having some great interviews these days...Loving it!

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  4. Super talented artist! Great interview and thanks for the giveaway!

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