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Meet Michelle Poirier of Michelle Poirier Illustration in Allston

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

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Like a lot of my artist friends and influencers, I’ve been making art in some way or another since I can remember. Since my hand could hold a crayon or cut with scissors I have been making. Yet, in a way being a professional artist snuck up on me. I always took art classes and doodled in my notebooks, but when it came time to apply to colleges and my art teacher was trying to convince me to go to art school, I thought she was crazy. I had so many misconceptions about art school and artists themselves. There was no way I could do that! I was in honors and AP classes destined to get a “real job”.

One way or another I ended up at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and I am eternally grateful for it. Although the road through art school was not easy- filled with doubt and challenges, it brought me leaps closer to the person and artist that I want to be. I studied illustration graduating with honors, and am now continuing onto my Masters of Arts in Teaching still at MassArt. I have always had the urge to teach, from helping my little sister with her homework at the dining room table, to tutoring throughout my high school career. I am so excited about the future artists that I will get to meet and encourage onto their path.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
One of the hardest parts of being an artist, or even just a person, is cultivating confidence. As artists, every time we make something, that’s a little piece of ourselves put into the world. Getting through humps of making “bad art” can be devastatingly difficult, and that’s how I felt through much of college. It’s hard to make mistakes when there is so often the pressure to make the best thing you’ve ever made every time you put pencil to paper, it’s just not going to happen. That learning curve, being in a school with amazingly talented individuals, and not always being “on top” was a hard lesson to get through. Allowing myself the ability to fail and not let that deter me from continuing, as a self-prescribed perfectionist, is still hard.

Please tell us about Michelle Poirier Illustration.
My illustrations center around pop-culture, performance, and portraiture. I combine acrylic paint and line work, often including handwritten type into my images. My favorite thing to do is capture a likeness or essence of a person or place. I have mostly explored my personal pop-culture; artists, musicians, athletes, places that I have grown up with and enjoyed that have influenced me. I like paying homage to a hometown or a musician their mom played as she cleaned the kitchen. I like to investigate those things that subtly made us who we are.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
One of the most important parts of growing as an artist is finding a support system, sort of your creative clique to lean on and get feedback from. Very slowly I found mine, but as soon as I did their support and guidance has been invaluable. Part of me wants to go back in time to my freshman year at MassArt, and force myself out of my dorm room shell to explore the community of people around me sooner.

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