Artist Statement

I have been researching and exploring American and African history for many years. I have traveled the southern expanse of the United States, lived among southern people, interviewed southerners and members of my own family in order to capture the heart of the South in my art. In addition, I have explored race and culture beyond America’s shores and it has given me a deeper look into my own history as well as America’s.

Though I was trained as a Commercial Artist, I also am a painter that works experimentally across various media, in 2012, I began to make what I call “wall quilts” that combined handmade paper, quilted fabric and painting. The wall art quilt titled “Plantation Sunday” was selected for defender of women and girl rights in Africa Glory Kilanko video at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

In my paintings, characters are thoughtfully placed and relay a since of history, insight and cross all boundaries. I believe that by drawing from personal stories is the element that will cross boundaries. I am an Artist in every since of the word. I lived in the South for 17 years and constantly travel to the south. I am a born researcher and my love for history and detail spill into my art. Preachers, teachers, ordinary folks, they are my muses. I am also very much influenced by, men and women of the cloth, Southerners rich history, musicians, farmers, like my framer Clarence Washington, who picked cotton on a plantation.

While I am influenced by great historic figures, like Harriet Tubman that freed over 300 African American slaves and changed the face of history, I am also influenced by my family members, my neighbors and everyday people. My mother is a creative spirit. She designs and makes clothing, jewelry and crochets. One of my earliest memory of her creating, is when she put a rock wall up in the hall way and spray painted it gold in the early 1970’s. She created clothes for me because it was economical and we couldn’t always afford to buy them.

I have transcended and after working with material, I am now able to take my quilted painted images to actual quilted wall hangings. In addition, I am currently developing a series of realistic faith based paintings. All paintings have a huge element; I call the “God element”. We are all created in the image of God. -Michele