Interview With Michelle Currier
WRITTEN BY: CARLI BAZINETT
One of the best things about the annual SDCCU Festival of Arts in North Park is the opportunity to showcase all of the up and coming artistic talent in the area. For years, North Park has been on the forefront of the art scene in San Diego. Just one walk around the neighborhood and you will see a wide range of murals, graffiti and galleries. Michelle Currier was recently named the winner of the 2016 SDCCU Festival of Arts poster contest. Her artwork can be seen on posters and banners throughout the streets of North Park.
Carli Bazinett: How has art helped influence your life? Was there a specific moment of when you decided to “go pro” and commit yourself to your artwork? Give us a little example of what that meant to you and how it pushed your artwork from amateur level to professional?
Michelle Currier: Art has always been a priority in my life, but I decided to go “pro” a little over a year ago. I recently graduated from UCSD, and was adjusting to the post-grad life and working full-time. I would post my paintings on social media and was getting really positive feedback. I eventually decided it was time to take the next step and to do some research looking into selling my work. I read multiple blogs about opening up an Etsy shop. I think it was through this process of researching and finally opening up shop that I started to notice my work evolve. I went from amateur to something more professional because it was no longer just an involved hobby, it was a business and I was setting higher expectations for myself and my work. It was scary and exciting, but really it just came down to focusing more on the quality of my work and the time I put into it.
CB: Was there a moment or a decision that you made in your career that you feel was a personal success?
MC: The moment that I think of in my art career that was a true personal success and really was a turning point for me was when an organization called RAW Artists reached out to me to take part in their showcase. Up to that time I had not showcased my work publicly beyond online so it was very exhilarating to be sought out for my work and given an opportunity to display it at a formal event. Being apart of the RAW Artist showcase and organization was a huge door opener that led to several other showcase opportunities. It’s really what broke me out of my shell and pushed me to get my work out there.
CB: What are you working on right now, or what are you currently obsessed with?
MC: My current obsession is painting deer. In the fall I went on a hike in an area called Lake Isabella and I found a deer’s shed horn. Soon after, I did an event just before spring where I showcased my work and did some live painting. I was inspired by my antler find because I chose to do a deer painting using my pop art style. I loved the results and got a lot of positive feedback on the piece. The painting sold immediately, so I am currently painting more and experimenting with different color combinations.
CB: Being from San Diego, do you feel there is a big art scene? Does anything about the city inspire your work?
MC: I definitely think San Diego has an art scene, and it seems to only be growing! I remember going downtown with my parents to Encinitas with friends, or even the airport and always admiring the art. Growing up in San Diego, I couldn’t imagine living somewhere without street art, museums and local businesses inspired by art. To me, art is one of the main things that makes San Diego such an amazing and unique city. I have no doubt in my mind that growing up here has had a heavy influence on my love for art.
CB: I know you are currently living in Palm Springs. How did you hear about the SDCCU Festival of Arts contest? What made you want to enter?
MC: I heard about the SDCCU Festival of Arts contest through an old supervisor from when I was going to and working at UCSD. She e-mailed me the link to the contest and told me it had reminded her of me, and that I should consider submitting my art. After checking out the website and reading up on the contest, I was way too excited to not give it a shot. San Diego will always feel like home and I really wanted to experience the art scene there first hand. This contest and art festival seemed like the perfect way to do so. It was amazing how much people supported me in the contest. I feel very grateful to my supervisor for recommending it to me and everyone who showed me their support.
CB: Did your artwork receive more attention after winning the SDCCU Festival of Arts contest?
MC: I feel like winning the contest has definitely helped my work receive more attention and has provided me with greater opportunities to market my art. Through the festival’s own marketing efforts, I have gained more exposure and hopefully vise versa, as I too promote the festival! Thus far it has been a pretty spectacular and gratifying experience. Seeing my work in public, along the streets of North Park has been surreal and amazing. I cannot wait to see what more comes from this opportunity!