Artist Interview – Mychaelyn Michalec

Mychaelyn Michalec’s work first caught our eye with the bold use of color on a large scale. Her paintings are immediately familiar – recognizable moments of modern family life – yet abstracted enough to insist on their own identity. Her paintings are both frank and whimsical and we’re so excited to see what she comes up with next.


1) How do you motivate yourself?

MM: I don’t need much to motivate myself. I took 13 years off from my studio practice to do other things and raise a family. I am just starting to hit my stride.

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2)  How do you structure your time?

MM: My studio is in the basement of my house. So my pre-painting warmup usually includes doing a load of laundry. Then I usually either clean my tools from the day before or do some drawings before I start painting.

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3) What do you listen to when you work?

MM: I listen to all kinds of music. The news is too disturbing and tv and podcasts are too distracting. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of bands I listened to in college like Sunny Day Real Estate, Neutral Milk Hotel or Team Dresch.

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4) Who are three artists that inspire you?

MM: Honore Sharrer for her use of color and the narrative qualities of her work.

Brian Harte who is a contemporary Irish Painter who does a lot of domestic scenes.

Francis Bacon I have a love hate relationship with. I really used to dislike him a lot but his color choices are so strange and yet they work. Also I am interested in his sense of framing up a scene.

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5) What’s the best piece(s) of advice you have been given?

MM: When I was thinking about starting back into a studio practice and whether I should quit my part time job and pursue painting full time I was struggling with the timing of everything. It was my husband who told me if not now, then when? There is no perfect time to start doing what you want to do. But he encouraged me to pursue my studio practice. I guess that’s not advice so much as having a support system which in my opinion may be better.

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6) Describe an object or tool related to your work that you love.

MM: It’s my cellphone camera. I couldn’t make my work without it. I use it to covertly document my family’s life. Then I use those photos to draw images of our life. My work is about domestic life, the dynamics of those relationships and it’s lot about distractions and disconnects in our relationships.

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7) An anonymous patron has donated $100K for you to build your dream studio, what would it look like and where would it be?

MM: That would be tough. I do like working at home so sometimes I think it would be awesome to knock down my garage and build a two story garage with a studio space on the second level. Other times I think about snatching up an old building in downtown Dayton and renovating it to have a studio and gallery space. There are not a lot of galleries in Dayton and I’d love to be able to have a space that other artists could use.

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Find Mychaelyn on Instagram: @mymychaelyn

And online here:

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