An Interview With Michaela Jean
The timeless art of Michaela Jean is visually beautiful and filled with history and nostalgia. A regular contributor to our Artist Meets Mother feed, Michaela frequently inspires me with her images of her work in progresses and her 9 month old son. I am delighted today to be able to share with you more about her creative processes and her life in this Artist Meets Mother interview.
Tell me a bit about your art. What inspires you to paint?
I was an Art History major in college and come from a line of antique dealers, so I would say that my foremost inspiration comes from the aged. Old buildings, vintage objects, sections of cities that are seemingly unchanged, and now even people that have been so lucky as to enter into their “Golden Years”. Perhaps I idealize times passed a little too much, but with contemporary society constantly simplifying (especially in the digital age) I can’t help but yearn for eras when details were emphasized in design. Where everyday objects and spaces all highlighted the artist’s hand. Thus, through bright colors and an illustrative touch I hope to exaggerate those details and bring the more seasoned bits of our present into the spotlight!
Can you share anything of your journey as a mother with us? How many children do you have?
Well of course! I have one 9 month old son, and a 2 year old pug. Haha! I include my dog because I often tell people he is the hardest part of having an infant. I mean, he is currently doing laps around the house with my chapstick in his mouth. Pick your battles right?
Motherhood is something you can never properly prepare yourself for. It’s the most difficult and amazing thing I have ever done. I like to describe it as loving someone more than anyone and anything you have ever loved before, and it is your job to keep them alive and well. Basically, motherhood, for me, has been learning to embrace vulnerability.
Do you feel that motherhood has changed your experience as an artist?
Absolutely. But in the best way possible. Having an infant allows you to re-experience the wonder of the world all over again. There is so much beauty and magic out there that as adults we often ignore. This allows me to embrace colors I once overlooked, and consider subjects I would have found to be insignificant.
Tell me a bit about your process. Do you involve your children in your art at all or is your time spent creating time for yourself?
My little man is still only 9 months, so we are not quite ready for our own set of paints. However, he is in the studio with me fairly often. I have a set of toys for him on the ground and he is more than content sitting there while mommy paints.
Describe to us your workspace. Where do you create?
I am currently using our spare room as a studio in our home. We do not own the house so the walls are not white, but the light is great!
What positives do you feel being a mother brings to your artistic practice?
I suggested this before, but primarily seeing the world as extraordinary and thus painting it this way. My son might find a silver spoon to be beautiful and fascinating, and it is! Art so often responds to hardships, and that is important, but when envisioning the world through a child’s eyes and then using that view point in painting, suddenly the work is joyful, it is magic.
What challenges does it bring?
Time! I never have enough of it! And then it can get even more complicated as a creative, because that moment of inspiration might not strike when you have the freedom to work. When you do find a moment to paint, it can then feel more like an exercise, less like an expression. But I suppose that is good too.
Being both a mother and an artist can be a difficult balance. How do you try and manage this?
My husband is to thank for this question. He is the biggest proponent of this balance. He encourages me to paint on weekends when he is home and is constantly coming up with ways for me to work and mom at the same time. With that said, this is still very much an ongoing challenge.
Self care is important as a mother. Do you feel that being an artist benefits your parenting in any way?
I think artists find exploration and imagination to come easier than most, and obviously so do children. I think being an artist allows you to encourage these gifts in your children and to embrace childhood as long as possible.
And on a practical note it gives me flexibility so I can parent and work on my own schedule, or my child’s rather haha.
Where can we see more of yourartwork?
You can find my work on my website – www.michaelajeanart.com, I also have an etsy account where I list smaller works, you can find my shop here. Finally, my Instagram @michaelajeanart is the most active and I often share recent works there!
For more art by inspiring mother artists follow our Instagram feed @ArtistMeetsMother.
Are you an artist balancing motherhood and art? Join our community and tag your art with the hashtag #artistmeetsmother.
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