Michael Page explodes with color in ‘Élan Vital’ at White Walls gallery in San Francisco – interview and photos by Michael Cuffe
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Michael Page is no stranger to color. He has some of the most bold, and profound dream imagery circling contemporary art circles today.
“Vital force, evolution, and the development of organisms is what Michael Page, San Francisco-based artist, has based this latest body of work on,” states White Walls. ”With a healthy interest in new life, spirituality, and the infinite variations of consciousness, Michael paints dreamscapes of alternative realities.”
The strength of Page’s work is in both scale and color palet. In ‘Élan Vital’ many of the works art 5′ foot or bigger, while his contrasting tones and hues bring a warmth and depth to each piece. His imagery and figures blend the borders of reality, and captivate the view within their surrealistic aspects.
Page creates his work by “tapping into” his own consciousness and trusting where it takes him – giving life to a body of work that travels from subject to subject – much the same was as an actual thought does.
We recently had the chance to ask Page a few questions about ’Élan Vital’ and where he’s headed with his career…
(Warholian’s MC) Can you tell us a little about your particular aesthetic, and the subject matter you focus on in this particular body of work?
(Artist Michael Page) I started creating this show at the same time my wife and I found out she was pregnant with our first child. Through that mind set, I began to create work reflecting the personal journal of life that we all go through. Essentially looking to create Pneuma, the life force, the spirit in us all.
(Warholian’s MC) How did you first decide you wanted to become and artist? Your background? What formal or informal training have you received?
(Artist Michael Page) The love to create art goes back as far as I can remember. As a child it really was the one thing that I could turn to in times of confusion and conflict. It was always mine and no one could take that away from me. As I got older all the lines just started to connect. Meeting my wife and her inspiration really helped me find that artist again, the artist I was as a child. In the beginning, I had to work a full time job and paint only at nights and the weekends. At one point early on I was really into fashion and decided to go to school for it, in particular I wanted to design skateboard shoes. So I went to school part time and then somehow found myself in Florence, Italy, for six months taking art classes. While I was there I had a studio to work in twenty four hours a day seven days a week and sort of just taught myself how to paint. That experience was incredibly liberating, really making me feel like that kid again making art. During those months I decided that painting was the only thing that I wanted to do. I pretty much was obsessed with it and did not look back. The structured format of school was very unappealing, with how they would teach a student the “correct way” to paint, so I dropped out and moved to San Francisco. Overall, I cannot step away from my art; it flows in my blood creating an obsession impossible to overcome.
(Warholian’s MC) How has your process and subject matter evolved over time?
(Artist Michael Page) The process has definitely evolved over the years. When I first started out, I was interested in creating little narrative stories similar to page layouts of books. Now each piece is more conclusive and tells the story in its entirety. Basically, I started to feel I was getting pinned down to one specific genre of work and I couldn’t stand it. I have seen artist that I admired when I first started out continue with what they do and to this day they do the same thing they were doing ten years ago. I respect that of them but I knew that was not me. I could not just sit back and be comfortable with doing the same thing day in and day out for the rest of my life..it was becoming like a boring 9-5 job. So I broke free from it all. Interests from other galleries and artist were lost who were not into or understanding why I was changing. I would get a lot of “you look like this or that” without them knowing that I was exploring myself and my work and at times without any conscious meaning my work would cross paths of other artists..non intentional at all it’s just the way the process is. Such as the light bulb was invented by two separate people at the same time across two separate continents. It’s the way the wave of consciousness works, for we are all painting into the aether. I never cared what anyone said and still do not. I have kept evolving and kept searching and still do search and will always search using abstract forms and shapes to create my spirit and what calls to me.
(Warholian’s MC) Who/what are some of your major influences?
(Warholian’s MC) What’s next for you? Any exciting projects or opportunities?
(Artist Michael Page) They only thing I have planned right now is to work on the commission paintings I have been promising for sometime and to hang out with my little boy. I’m waiting for other opportunities to arise without jumping into anything too quick and waiting for the right challenge to come.
Élan Vital’ runs from April 14th – May 5th 2012 at White Walls in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco.
- interview and photos by Michael Cuffe of Warholian
For more on available works visit: http://www.whitewallssf.com/
To visit Michael Page’s official website:http://michaelpageart.com/