Today we’d like to introduce you to Kris Michael.
Kris, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
It might be easy to tell that I was born and raised in Phoenix. I have a deep appreciation for my home city and the beautiful Sonoran Desert, which is exhibited in much of my art. Another theme one might notice is my passion for environmental and animal protection. My talented and caring mom is an amazing artist herself and taught me how to draw before I even learned to tie my shoes. She encouraged me to become involved in animal advocacy at a young age as well. My dad, who is a highly regarded pediatrician in the Valley, along with my mom, an RN, have always supported my art every step of the way. My brainy and talented brother (who taught himself ragtime on the piano – I mean, who does that?!?) is following in their footsteps in the field of biology.
I love creating art more than anything, but I quite enjoy teaching it as well. Using my bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from ASU, I earned a post-baccalaureate certificate in Art Education K-12 through Rio Salado. I’ve also recently discovered the world of face painting which is one of my favorite jobs. Another favorite gig I have is creating album art for musicians. I provide much of the artwork for Paper Mache Kisses, a band which is now featured on Pandora, including my album art. I’m also the official artist for a group that promotes upcoming heavy metal bands, which seeks to preserve all of the important aspects of my favorite genre of music. It was largely the metal community that helped me feel I belonged when I was bullied as a teen. I have always loved heavy metal music, and the metal community is a tight and caring family.
Other amazingly tight and awesome groups I feel at home in are the arts and Comic-con. I also love volunteering with my mom for the Animal Defense League of Arizona, a phenomenal animal protection group. I’ve donated to ADLA and other nonprofits including murals at Ryan House. I’m very grateful and proud to have grown up in Phoenix and am committed to giving back to my community in various ways, for my community has truly enriched my life.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Face painting, murals, album art, portraits, printmaking…
I enjoy face painting because it’s kind of opposite from my usual meticulous, time consuming, solitary artwork. I get to have fun creating artwork very quickly, and I get to socialize in the process.
Painting murals is very special because I get to paint on a gigantic “canvas” and best of all I get to work side by side with my mom.
Album art is one of the best ways for my artwork to be seen by many people all over the world. I love the challenge of visually bringing a musician’s imagination to life.
Printmaking is my favorite type of art next to drawing. I enjoy screen printing, relief woodcuts, and intaglio, but most of all, lithography because I love the way it can look exactly like a drawing. Since I currently do not have access to a studio, I make do at home with hand printing techniques, mostly relief.
My greatest passion and expertise is in portraits and life drawing. I’ve spent my entire life drawing the human form and it’s definitely where my strongest skills are exhibited. Growing up in a medical and art family, I naturally developed a firm understanding of anatomy, so when I create a visual representation of a recognizable living being, the viewer should not be distracted by anatomical incorrectness of osteology and myology.
Sometimes my work does not have a message. It can simply portray visual information that is meant to capture attention. Other times I do create art with a message, which usually reflects animal and environmental advocacy and awareness.
Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
The biggest challenges facing artists today are time constraints, competition, and lack of funds. After many years of education and hard work, it is discouraging that few artists are able to earn a livable income on their art alone. This creates a catch-22 that working enough outside job hours to survive limits one’s time to create art.
Most artists seem to struggle with the marketing aspect of their profession. The art world is extremely competitive. My inspiring ASU professor Dan Britton frequently reminded us of the stark reality that there is not a piece of the pie for everyone. Fortunately, the art community in Phoenix is a supportive one and continues to grow which creates hope for the future.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My artwork can be found in various locations in the Valley, including murals my mom and I created for Ryan House, Cactus Children’s Clinic, and Sahuaro Elementary School.
My work can be viewed online at my website KrisMichael.net, and Instagram @KrisMichael_phx, and on Pandora as I create much of the artwork for Paper Mache Kisses. I also design book covers including A Hundred in 2016 by Hal C. F. Astell.
People can support my work by commissioning me to create artwork (portraits, albums, murals, etc.) as well as hiring me as a face painter. Another much-appreciated way someone can support me is to share my work and info and/or refer me to others who could use my services.
- Website: KrisMichael.net
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/krismichael_phx/