We had the good fortune of connecting with Kim Michelle and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kim Michelle, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk taking is an interesting thing to think about because as an artist it happens with every brushstroke. You have a chance to make a change every single time you add something to the canvas and it could make it or break it. One tiny dot could completely ruin the whole painting! And for me its all about intuition and feeling it out. I like to leave my mind out of the process of creating as much as possible. But that often leaves me unsure mentally if its going to work or not. The key is to be in my right-brain flow and to not listen to the constant barraging of my left brain telling me “I don’t know!” Or “thats going to be wrong..” or even, “you never know anything, you can’t do this..” etc etc. The worst things!!! The left brain is relentless and until I understood this it was extremely hard to get past those points of resistance. It seemed like there were these magical moments where I could paint in peace and I never knew when I could settle into the practice. And when I finally settle in the risks are exhilarating and fun to take. It doesn’t matter so much if you make a mistake because its more like playing around with paint than having to create something so seriously. This process is so healing because with the deeper understanding of knowing if I’m in my right or left brain I don’t continue to self-deprecate and I can keep going on with taking risk after risk and the risks become bigger and I become stronger and I start getting somewhere with my work.
From my experience the desire to change is only in the mind because the mind is fickle and on all other levels there is so much resistance that make it very difficult to actually change. So by having this art practice in effect everyday one becomes used to change, transformation, development and that leads to freedom. Freedom for me is the ultimate goal! Freedom is everything because it means I don’t feel constrained by anything or anyone. Im not held down. Things are open and that leads to joy and peace. I let the light in and there is truth, understanding, inspiration and love! It gives me everything Im ever hoping for. It’s a worthwhile journey!
Somedays I’m not able to take huge risks but slow and steady wins the race and is more sustainable than huge leaps that fail and throw me down for some time. Everyone has their own pace and method and its good to know what is best for you.
What should our readers know about your business?
After art school I moved to Florida and was having some success with getting my work out there, meeting people and getting jobs. I was in NY meeting a gallery owner who asked me one question that scared the sh$-&* out of me. He asked me why I made art and why it mattered to the world. My answer – it makes me happy and it will make others happy. It seemed so simple and naive and I judged myself so hard for not saying something smarter. I felt this overwhelming sense of competition and I decided to run as far away from the art(business) world as I could. Long story short, I moved to Costa Rica and spent the greater part of 8 years there happily making art on my own terms and practicing/teaching yoga to supplement the income.
Life changed when I had my daughter as it does when people become parents. Although I still loved to teach yoga and make art I had to make decisions and sacrifices that would lead me to steadier income. When my daughter turned 3 I decided to leave Costa Rica for good to be closer to family support. I returned to Florida and stepped right into single motherhood. Something inside of me just couldn’t go back to the way I’d done things before so I started to push myself more to up-level my art and rekindle my relationship with the art world at large.
At this point I’m still finding my way but after all I’ve been through at least I know that although it may be a challenging relationship for me business-wise, my art is my haven, it is where I find god/dess, my spiritual center, my freedom, my peace, my inspiration, my joy and excitement for life. It is where I find the truth. And if I can share that with the world, even on a small scale I am lucky and I am in integrity because my heart is open and only good comes from an open heart.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I didn’t always love Florida but now I really do! There is so much to see and explore and so many amazing people that it is a very interesting and intriguing place to live.
If my best friend came to visit for the weekend we would go spend a night on St Pete beach, wake up for coffee and a long walk on the beach, then head downtown to the farmers market for amazing local goodies. We would go to the Dali art museum or any of the amazing museums or galleries downtown. Then go to a brewery or a fancy rooftop bar for a drink and then head to Riverwalk in Tampa to find something to eat- vegetarian style! We would find some live musical and hopefully dance till our legs gave out. Go home, sleep, wake up, make art all the next day with all the inspiration we found the day before. Orher fun places to visit around here are Tarpon Springs where I live. Its beautiful and there is amazing greek food/community. I also love Dunedin and Safety Harbor where there is always something cool going on.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have been studying art since I could pick up a pencil. I have a bachelors in fine arts and i have studied with and known amazing artists all my life. I learn from life and from creative people everyday. But last year my art was excellerated through the instruction of Elli and Dimitra Milan in their year long Master Program. This is where I learned about the right brain/left brain switch and my art has changed incredibly in the last year. I am so in love with this program and would encourage anyone who is interested to check it out.