Enjoy the whimsical world of artist Michelle Waters! See more of her humorous artwork by visiting her website.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I’m one more adult artist who lived to draw as a child and just never stopped drawing. I have an art degree from UC Santa Cruz and my usual medium is acrylic on wood panels, and sometimes canvas.
I live and create in the redwood forest of the San Francisco Bay Area, and I show my art regularly in San Jose, San Francisco, Portland and Los Angeles to name a few places. I’ve been exhibiting since the 1980s. I also am in that large group of artists whose main source of support is a non-art day job (I’m a web designer).
My art is profoundly influenced by my connection with animals. I worked directly with animals as a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator for years, and this definitely influenced my art, as wild creatures are featured throughout my artwork. Other influences include surrealism (I love artists like Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington), social realism and my concern about environmental destruction and habitat loss.
For the past 10 years my subject matter has been in two main veins. My “religious animals” paintings feature animal nuns, priests and saints. They are a lot of fun to paint, and I figure if they make me laugh while I’m painting then that’s a good thing.
Another series I call “environmental surrealism”, and these paintings feature animals protesting against human domination, often by dismantling industrial objects like freeways and dams. I find some of my inspiration from situations that I don’t like – for example I have a painting of animals dismantling a Hummer dealership which is an indictment of large, gas guzzling vehicles and their connection to habitat loss.
I often get inspired by finding interesting or funny animal photos. One thing I’ve learned from so many years as an artist is to trust the sources of inspiration!
In 2012 I did a lot of small, commissioned paintings of people’s companion animals. I also completed two public art projects in San Jose, CA: an outdoor mural, and a painted utility box. I had painted murals before, but only indoors, so doing these commissions was a good way to push myself to grow as an artist.
Now I’m in a place where I want to work on my own pieces, rather than commissions. I am starting a series of Madonna and child paintings featuring animals. I have a solo show coming up this Fall at Kaleid Gallery in San Jose, and it’s always good to have a goal like that for creating a new body of work.
My aim is to keep honing my skills as an artist so I can be the best artist I’m capable of being, and to be able to paint for the rest of my time on this planet!