We have been working with the artist and educator Michael Angelis to showcase his new series titled; Disposable|Aesthetics. This series shines a light on classically disregarded items. Sauce packets, plastic bags, and takeout containers are all in the mix. Michael’s work lets us look at these ordinary items from a new perspective.
Luckily, I had the chance to speak with Michael about his current projects, and got a closer look into how he balances teaching and being an artist. - entire article written by Emily Eldridge
What are you currently working on?
Currently i’m working on a series that has to do with takeout containers, mostly chinese food containers. Basically disposable items that are designed to only be used for a very short amount of time and just to transport takeout food.
I understand you are an educator as well as an artist, how do you go about balancing those two passions of yours?
It’s tricky. My teaching schedule is Monday through Friday and I teach high school, which starts very early. So I try to be in the studio on the weekends and vacations and occasionally in the evenings, but ive had to get really good at working for short periods of time and also to mentally prepare the works when i’m not in the studio. I’ve also been teaching printmaking workshops at Makehaven and teaching adults is just another different perspective to have on teaching and learning.
Do you feel your work has changed since being an art educator?
I’m sure it has, yeah. I do enjoy teaching, it keeps my perspective fresh, because i’m always having to learn and so i’m always getting perspectives from my students which then keeps me from being in any kind of narrow mindset.
Tell me more about the workshops you are teaching at Makehaven.
Sure! I teach an introduction to woodblock carving and i’m also teaching an advanced printing class for woodblocks or linoleum blocks. So they are both relief printmaking classes. I also spend three hours a week at Makehaven as a printmaking animator, where I help people with whatever printmaking related project they might have which includes silkscreening as well.
I understand the workshops you are teaching focus primarily on woodcut and printmaking, how did you settle on this medium and what do you find unique about this art form in comparison to the others?
I ended up doing woodcut and silkscreening in college. I had a little bit of printmaking experience before that but when I was in college I was dissatisfied with the painting program and got pulled into the print shop and just got hooked on the mixture between fine art creativity and technical process. In woodcut, the grain of the wood provides this character or this sort of personality that you have to find in the wood. Almost like sculpting in a way, finding the shape within.One thing I try to get across in workshops to my students is to let the wood and the grain of the wood sort of guide the process. A lot of students will really try to make something and force an image that they are not really sure about, wood grain can be a really nice way to find a balance with the medium. Because you do things step by step and not everything is direct, there is all this opportunity for reflection. There is a lot of opportunity for reflection in painting as well but with printmaking you have to take things step by step. You adjust as you go, you make mistakes and those mistakes lead you somewhere else. It’s really well geared for that.
Michael Angelis will be showing his work through Lunch Print now through the end of the year.
Follow us on instagram @lunchmoneyprint for updates and details
Emily Eldridge, the author of this article, is currently a student at Gateway Community College. She has a strong interest in music and art, and is studying communications and music management.