Michael Alan, born in the summer of 1977, in Bushwick, Brooklyn, is a New York City based artist. Dedicated entirely to creation, he is reporting life and feelings developing a strong and unique visual language through every different process he can. Today Alan’s work is represented by Gasser Grunert in Chelsea (NYC). His work has already been featured in 9 New York solo shows, over 200 group shows, and over 200 Living Installations.
Interview by Charlotte Goeders
Let us introduce: Michael Alan
Your art is extremely strong and expressive, what is it that inspires you and gives so much strength to your art?
The way I see my inspiration is the same way a writer or critic or photojournalist seeks out their work. I am visually reporting life, my feelings, things that are beyond myself. (Thank God) I draw and paint every day for 10 to 12 hours `wherever I go, whether it’s the studio, the bus, the park, the hospital, the museum, dinner, a date, art shows. My inspiration is to continue my research every single day. I’m a drawaholic. True influence is found in your chest, you just have to push enough so you can breathe clean air.
When I see your visual, I can see an extremely thoughtful person with an amazing inner world behind … I am fascinated by your harrowing, chaotic, honest and contradictory vision of life … Is there a philosophical concept related to that?
Of course. You have no idea, (Me or anyone) what exactly is this world, this odd thing called life. The minute you say you know the answer to the riddle you will be cursed. There isn’t one answer, there isn’t one meaning. Everything is happening at the same time. I think you can see that in my drawings, there’s a small skinny flimsy limb holding up a beautiful breast, being crushed by an exploding teevee. A bird is chirping and a man is shooting another man in the face. There is no answer. The curiosity of a child is the greatest chance we get to being close to creation, because we are not flooded with beliefs. The work that I am doing now is about going back to that place in time where you allowed yourself to have questions, ideas and possibilities. Mental freedom.
As one multifaceted artist, you touch many genres ranging from drawings, paintings, sculptures, performances and music … which is the field in which you feel most comfortable? where do you think your energy flows better?
All the work that I do is not necessarily about being comfortable, it’s about pushing myself out of my comfort zone. All the work in it’s entirety creates room for the other work to be born and blossom. I’m not interested in a stillborn work that’s dead. I draw while I write while I record. I paint and make sculpture during a performance. Everything flows together.
Does spirituality have a place in your life and therefore in your art?
Not right now. The word spirituality for me is kind of vague, but I do believe that there is a much greater force than me that’s creating these paintings.
What is your motto?
Art, art, fuck the devil!
Lou Reed used to say : ˝I think that everything happens for a reason, everything happens when it’s going to happen˝. What do you think about that ?
Maybe. I think there’s a problem with that especially in drawing and painting. You have to move the brush, you have to draw on the paper, you have to work hard. You’ve got to make your own luck. Mix that with some of what Lou Reed said.
What artists do you admire or inspire you most?
James Ensor, The Residents, Francis Bacon, Egon Schile.
What do you love about Manhattan in particular?
I’m from New York City and I know a lot of people here. My friends and family are here. I know a lot of little streets, big streets, parks and movie theatres. I know this city pretty well, I’m one of the last tour guides.
And Brooklyn’s all the rage these days …
I was born there and I’m not looking to go there. It’s way overpriced and there are too many people. It’s fun to go there but there are a lot of things that go on there that aren’t good for your health. I think we need to give gentrification a break. Why don’t people move to Coney Island? It’s way cooler than Bushwick.
Any thought to exhibit in Europe????
I will exhibit in any state or country!