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Check out Michelle Lougee’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Lougee.

Michelle, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I was the kid at school that the other kids would ask to make drawings for them. My specialties at the time were horses and bunnies. I went to Boston University for Fine Art and studied the human figure quite intensively, but I found that the real source of my inspiration was not only the figure, but all organic form. In graduate school I began making work that expressed my concern for the environment. I explored both material and message, working with found wood, wax, clay, leaves and vines. My work transitioned from figure to other forms in nature.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
About 10 years ago, I learned about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a collection of plastic debris floating in the ocean. I was deeply troubled by the news and it became clear that I needed to use plastic to make my work. About that time my husband sent me a link to a “how to crochet plastic” video on YouTube. I began to recreate ocean creatures in crochet post-consumer plastic. Looking at marine diatoms and phytoplankton, my work transitioned to include an array of otherworldly forms inspired by microscopic images; referring to the abundance of plastic in our oceans and environment.

My pieces are created from collected post-consumer plastic bags that is sorted by color. Then it is flattened, cut, and processed into “plarn”-plastic yarn ready for crocheting. Much of the work is comprised of an accumulation of small parts. This part of my practice made it easier to continue working with small children. I can take a project with me wherever I go! Once I have crocheted enough parts to assemble the piece, I begin to fit a wire armature into each of the crochet forms. I sew together the wire infused parts and the work begins to take on an animated quality. When the piece is entirely assembled, I put on a coat of UV resin. With this work I am hoping to call attention to our reckless use of plastic. It seems impossible to go even one day without single use plastic and I can’t help feeling that that is completely unsustainable. We need to change our ways

Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
Social media has made being an artist and getting your work out there much easier, I believe that art schools are doing a much better job at preparing students to find art related jobs and to present their work through internships, exhibit opportunities during school and professional development classes. On the other hand, rents in our great city continues to rise and rise. we see the cycle of artists moving in to an undesirable neighborhood, building it up and attracting commerce and then being priced out of the area. Cities can help by recognizing, preserving and encouraging arts in the community through percent for art programs, subsidized live/work space, creating space for artist to show and sell their work. It needs to be a commitment and a priority.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
From July 18 – August 12, I will have a piece in a group show entitled Breath and Matter at Boston Sculptors Gallery, 486 Harrison Ave Boston. Wednesday-Sunday 12-6.

From August 13 – Sept 7, I will be exhibiting with Susan Heideman at Maud Morgan Arts, Chandler Gallery, 20 Sacramento St, Cambridge, MA 02138. The Chandler Gallery is open Monday through Friday 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM.

Vernon Street Open Studios takes place on the first weekend in December. My studio is at 6 Vernon St, #19. Somerville, MA.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Stewart Clements, Keith Carangelo, Dean Powell.

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