Michelle Wise, Mixed Media

Artist Statement: I am drawn to contrast — old and new, natural and man-made, written word and symbol — and my art reflects that obsession. My imagery is informed by the span of human cultures, contemporary signs of commerce and trade and the products of modern technology. I have a deep love for painting traditions. Graphic design penetrates all aspects of modern life. My work marries these two art forms, — art and design ­­— and celebrates the juxtaposition of the timeless and the timely.

Bio: I am from a small town in eastern Indiana, surrounded by bucolic hillsides, dairy farms, old rusty things and Hoosier determination. At nine, I began my artistic journey. My parents enrolled me in private lessons with Martha, a marvelous artist who was my teacher and mentor for nine years. I graduated from both Indiana University and Ball State University majoring in Fine Art. 

After college and living in a rural community, I took the first graphic design job I could grab — my hometown newspaper — making a whopping $150.00 a week. That experience would propel me through a 30-year career, working at four major-market newsrooms as a graphic designer and Art Director (Phoenix, Santa Ana CA, Atlanta and Portland OR). I learned journalism, newspapering and the digital world from the seat of my pants.

Even during and after a rewarding career, my heart ached for creating fine art. So, in 2018, I moved to Asheville, with my spouse Jean, and dove into its flourishing creative community. 

My new work collectively joins the visions of my past: old rusty things, graphic design, fine art and determination. I incorporate vintage signs of commerce and trade, love letters and diagrams with modern, painterly techniques and materials. My work is personally transformative and it is my new beginning. 

I am so deeply grateful to be here.

Michelle Wise