1. How long have you been painting, and what made you start?
I have been working professionally as an artist after graduating from the Corcoran College of Art in Design in 1991. While I was quite young, my mother painted and her easel was often set up on our apartment patio when we lived in Paris. We moved every 2- 3 years, and I found each new environment stimulating, always curious about the next horizon. I loved creating things from nature when out exploring on walks. Then it was creative play. Today it is still play but with the knowledge of art theory, form, color, space and line tagging along for the ride.
"Transcendence of Thought" © Michelle Firment Reid
2. How would you categorize your painting style?
Lyrical and Gestural Abstraction, Romantic Expressionism. I prefer to use those terms loosely. I find it difficult to categorize my own painting style in this contemporary art world where I am have been inspired from artists of the past though pushing forward in my own language of art.
"Brutally Beautiful" © Michelle Firment Reid
3. Has your style changed in the last couple of years and if so how?
It’s a slow migration, and always has been. Each body of work tends to connect with the other through some visual thread. The biggest change in my work occurred around five years ago when I chose to let go of writing words on my canvas. I found the words distracting and not necessary to be readable. Instead, the words developed into more gestural line which gives the idea of writing. "Feeling The Blue" © Michelle Firment Reid
Now there are no actual words in my
works but more like thoughts before
they become words, the space
4. What inspires you on a regular basis?
Nature is a huge inspiration as far as my color palette. I take a lot of walks, especially in the morning hours, and I enjoy this quiet and reflective time. Much inspires me, especially life around me- people, music, conversations, and my own emotions. Nature just tends to say it best, without words. I look to nature to find order.
"It Was Only A Flesh Wound' © Michelle Firment Reid
5. Does it make it harder to find time to paint having a family?
The same could be said if I had a job as a teacher, and my ability to balance out my teaching hours with my art hours as many artists do. To answer your question, no, and if anything, I find it easier. Before children, in my early twenties, I took advantage of my time, much wasted without giving myself deadlines. Now my time with my art is used to the fullest.
"The Absence of You" © Michelle Firment Reid
6. What do you dislike about the ART world?
Vanity Galleries. These are art galleries charging artists a large sum to exhibit their work, with promises of publicity, while they end up making most of the money from the artist rather than sales to the public. On the other hand, commercial galleries make their profits from sales of artwork so they take time and care to select art they believe will sell. These galleries spend time understanding the artist’s work, promoting the art and cultivating collectors. They take a percentage of the artists work which sells, normally anywhere from 40- 60 percent, and the artist is then paid. Vanity galleries have no incentive to sell art since they have already been paid by the artist, and they are for the most part not selective, because they don’t need to be. I highly recommend new artists to avoid exhibiting work with this type of gallery because professional critics and art reviewers tend to avoid them.
"Avalanche of You" © Michelle Firment Reid
7. What would be your Ultimate DREAM as an Artist?
I create and do what I love on a daily basis, work hard, and make a living from it. In a sense, I am living my dream. I have a supportive and loving family as well as a close network of friends. In my art career I would like to continue my art while reaching a wider audience.
I also would love to see the arts in our public school system grow instead of being deduced. The children today are our future art advocates, museum visitors and art collectors. Arts education is essential in building innovative thinkers. Being able to think in different ways and sense possibilities may inspire the future physicist, economist, and political scientist to see interconnections and hypothesize about variables in ways they may not have considered. The arts can free us to think and dream and sense, and this often proves invaluable.
"Discovering The Truth In Her Poppy Fields" © Michelle Firment Reid