We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Elliott and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My thought process in regards to my business in painting/photography came about years ago in light of a structure needed in organizing my brand and marketing. for me it all started from a signature on my work which expanded to online interactions, promos and eventually a website. I’m in the business of people interactions and public engagement within my creative field so therefore Ive always had and still keenly observing different changes in the demograogh and the market at large. In addition to this, strong creative visuals in my branding helps me to stand out as well as the process of keeping people informed of my creative process while tying it to the concepts being conveyed. This helps in overall understanding of the work and also sales.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve always had an interest in the practice of painting even before art school. My path in creating didn’t always start with socio-political themes, I would create still life and landscape pieces but as time went on in my professional career I developed an even more awareness of different concepts and felt the urge to use my work towards a meaningful journey as it relates to social justice, the environment, race and political affairs. I have often used symbolism in my work to represent my ideas which are mostly done in a still life format and sometimes surreal. My work can be described as photorealistic as I use photographic techniques in my brush work to create an almost 3 dimensional presentation sucking in the viewer into the painted space so to speak. I am excited about the conversations I have with art enthusiasts and persons from different walks of life. Each interpretation I do is further expanded by other people’s take on the work, which gives infinite perspective to the work and even informs me for further developments of my work and insight. Over the years it hasn’t always been easy especially in the first 12 years after art school. There have been times when knowing who to trust in the art business is crucial and I have had those instances where trust in a person has been broken. My professional career needed guidance along the way from fellow artists, gallerists, art educators and even marketers. Through the years I have had to update myself with the usage of social media and engagement online and physically. It is a tough juggle doing all this and producing art at the same time, but it is an exciting journey as I get to see the results play out which leads to more opportunities. Also pricing work can be a complex machine that I have had to look out for and observe several layers that can affect the market, such as a pandemic for example, what are the adjustments needed in marketing and even working out price negotiations or plans when client habits and situations change. Im not worried about viewers not understanding my work instantly, for some people it is a slow burn relationship with the work. I tend to offer the clues for persons to decode, some pieces are more straight forward in delivery than others. What I want to leave with people in my work is the moment that was captured symbolically on canvas or through the camera. The thrill of the conversation that comes from my work gives me the drive to do more.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In Miami there are so many interesting points of excitement, most of which i still have to explore. but if a friend was coming the places of interest I would take them to are: 1.) Perez Art Museum Miami 2.) Ball and Chain club 3.) Little Haiti Community Centre 4.) Miami Beach 5.) the Wynwood district murals
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
1.) My family for their love and support through the years growing up, especially my parents. 2.) Friends: Christopher Lawrence, Andrae Green, Priyah Green, Kyle Smith, 3.) Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator (DVCAI) namely: Rosie Gordon-Wallace, Roy Wallace, Izia Lindsay, Asser St. Val, Rosa Naday Garmendia, Kurt Nahar 4.) All my teachers, art collectors, galleries throughout the years who encouraged and invested in my growth 5.) Last but not least, My beautiful wife Lesli-Ann Belnavis Elliott, who has inspired, motivated and supported my development as I also support her creative development as an artist
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