Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Wall.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Michael. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I got into art as a child. I was the youngest of three, at the time, and my mother used to sit and draw with me a lot. I drew what is known as fan art then: I drew everything from The Power Rangers to Ninja Turtles. As I got older, my drawings got more refined. Throughout grade school and high school, I always found a way to take an art elective–and it was there I was able to explore my creativity a little more. Although I still like ninjas, my concentration headed more into the portrait area. After high school, I decided to go to North Carolina A&T, and I took up painting: Visual Arts and Design as my major, with a concentration in Fine Arts. And from there, I was able to hone my skills even more.
Has it been a smooth road?
One of my professors told me, “You’re not an artist because; you’re an artist in spite of.” After graduating college and moving to Atlanta, I found out quickly that I needed a job to keep the bills paid. Working part-time at Target is about as lucrative as it sounds. So, I often found myself doing odd jobs for money; things I wasn’t necessarily interested in pertaining to art. But, I also entered into numerous art shows, and one experience, in particular, was especially discouraging. Initially, I was accepted into the show, but after I arrived at the opening I learned my art wasn’t up, and when I asked why, one of the curators was like, “Oh, it didn’t really seem like you did this at all,” supposedly based off other slides I had shown. I think what that showed me was how different the art scene in Atlanta was in comparison to the art scene in Greensboro. I know I felt disrespected at that time because I was like, “Why would I steal somebody else’s stuff?” Especially when I know the time I put into my stuff. But, I also think that was a time when I was able to be released from other people’s expectations. All I can ever do is be me, you know? And, that’s my gift. I think after that I refocused on the things that make me happy.
Please tell us more about your art.
I specialize in portraiture and oils. I capture joy in faces and other expressions. Recently, before heading to bed, I received a text from my momma saying, “I’m proud to be your momma,” with hearts, and I think at that moment that was an accumulation of all the hard work that I’ve done: from moving to another state by myself, finding a way to improve every year so that I was able to focus on my art more freely without worrying about bills, winning recent contests, and also the steady flow of commission. I feel like I touch the hearts of people; when people see my art, they tell me they’re filled with emotions. I paint who and what I choose to because I want people to experience my interpretation of joy.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I came from a small town where the population is around 300,000 although I believed it to be big at the time I know Atlanta is much larger. I love that there are so many colleges and young people striving to be everything from the next big actor to the next famous basketball star or BBQ joint.
What I found to be disheartening is that Atlanta is very socially segregated. I really wanted it to be the Mecca I’ve always heard about but it seems that conditions apply with that statement.
I’ve never seen so many homeless in a city that found a billion dollars to build a second football stadium, I’ve never seen such police aggression until I visited the outer shell of 285 and ran into the police trap that is Avondale.
The school systems suffer cause neighborhoods pool their money and resources to Private schools or with in walking distances.
- 12” x 12” 150$
- 16” x 20” 250$
- 24” x 24” 400$
- Website: Ohthasmike.com
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Personal photo by Mark Alberhasky