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Over the next couple of weeks, Kettle Art will be bringing you interviews with the six artists that make up the current “Forces of Nature” line-up.
The spotlight of today’s post is focused squarely on Misha Flores.
Kettle – Please tell us a little about yourself (give a brief bio).
Misha - I was born in St. Louis, Mo., my father was from there and my mother’s from Mexico. I got to travel a lot as a kid because my dad worked with the airlines. I think that gave me a good sense of appreciation for other cultures and empathy for all walks of life. I love to learn, I’m always investigating how things work in the natural world, in the cosmos, in other cultures. It is most important to me to try to live mindfully, trying to appreciate the sacredness of each moment and living in awareness of the consequences of my actions. My pet causes would be environmental conservation, and human and animal rights. I have a husband and two big beautiful dogs. And I am excited that I just started teaching yoga this year!
Kettle – How long have you been pursuing the creative life?
Misha - Creativity was always encouraged in our home as a child so I’ve been doing something creative all my life, drawing and playing instruments as a kid, doing art, singing, theatre and dance through highschool and college.
Kettle – Do you have formal training, or are you self taught?
Misha - In 2006 I received a BFA in Painting with a minor in Photography.
Feeling Yourself Disintegrate
Acrylic on Canvas
Kettle – Could you please describe some of your latest work?
Misha - My work is really an expression of the spiritual revelations I encounter on my path, whether through my own meditation or through study of sacred texts–really both, since the things a seeker finds on their own are mirrored throughout time, in all parts of the globe. Truth is truth, and my work celebrates those universal truths that matter most.
Kettle – How did you decide on the medium with which you work?
Misha - I have a deep visceral response to paint that cannot be replaced by any other medium. When I see a painting at a museum that is truly masterfully crafted, and that has a human, emotional element to it, I just want to cry for sheer joy and awe. (And I have a few times. Kind of embarrassing I guess but what can you do; I think I’m lucky to be moved by art, so I’ll take that over stoic coolness any day.) I have really no choice but to paint. And acrylics are just so much quicker to dry than oils, that makes them a lot easier to work with. The quality of acrylics nowadays is so excellent, if you know what you’re doing it’s just as beautiful as oil.
Kettle – Where did you find the inspiration for your most recent work?
Misha - I have always had a mad love for nature, being an environmentalist and an animal lover. So when we came up with the idea for Forces of Nature, it was no stretch to shine a light on my relationship with nature. My inspiration is my own daily walks through the woods near my house, moments lying on the grass and feeling like a part of the Mother, the moments when I feel like I’m disintegrating into the huge natural system of which we are all a part, whether we acknowledge it or not. And my awe at this great system, at how we have all evolved together, us and every other animal and plant on this planet. Some Native Americans call all the creatures and plants All Our Relations. This is true in a very scientific sense. We all arose dependently with each other, and we all literally share some common DNA.
Kettle – Have you shown at Kettle Art in the past? When? What shows?
Misha - I’ve been a part of many group shows there over the last few years, but the show that I’m most proud of for my own part was a three-person show with Tyson Summers and Larey Carey, Impermanence. They were great to work with and their work was phenomenal.
Kettle – What most intrigues you about your latest show at Kettle Art? Why?
Misha - I love the differences in how each of the artists approached this subject. For Karla the Force of Nature was the inevitable force of death. For Julia it was more of an environmental/reduce reuse recycle and work with nature sort of statement, turning that into a metaphor for rebirth. Well I won’t go into all of the other artists, I guess you can read their answers for that! But I just really enjoyed everyone’s interpretations.
Kettle – How did you approach the work you created for this exhibit?
Misha - I have always loved figurative work, and I wanted to use the range of possibilities in the human figure. I used all body types and myriad poses from yoga and dance. Vivid color was also important. I didn’t bother too much with scale, and defenestrated gravity entirely.
All Our Relations
Acrylic on Canvas
Kettle – What do you want viewers to take away from your work at this show?
Misha - I used the playful elements I just mentioned to express the joy and wonder of our place in nature, of life spilling forth through the eons, of animals and plants and humans rising together with the forces of air, water, earth, moon and sun. May the viewer feel joy and gratitude when they look at these pieces.
Kettle – Is there a particular message you are trying to convey through your work?
Misha - The principle of interdependence–we cannot pretend that what we do to one part of the system doesn’t effect every other part. This is true in an environmental sense and in a spiritual sense, both. We really are all One, physically and spiritually. So we must know that we are important in this sense, our actions and emotions are important, they have the power to elevate or detract from the well-being of all our fellow beings.
Kettle – What artists have influenced your life & work? Why?
Misha - For their use of paint and their expressiveness I adore Bacon, Van Gogh, Munch, Ernst, Sheile. For his use of color and form Matisse. For her enthralling, innovative and disturbing use of the human form Louise Bourgeois. I could go on and on I’m sure, but the elements that I take away from all of them is that little something that makes me want to cry in the art museum. I think that’s the most important part of visual art–the human connection, the emotional charge, the way a loose brush stroke in a painting or a jagged edge in a sculpture can translate into a profound metaphor for what’s going on internally. It doesn’t have to be emotional in a sappy way, God forbid, then you end up in Thomas Kinkade territory. No, it’s saying so much with so little, the implications you have to be really open to receive. The agony you feel when you look at Bacon, that’s not achieved with dripping gore and camp, it’s all about a brush stroke, about what’s left out of the picture, the empty space–that is power.
Kettle – Describe yourself in 5 words.
Misha - Sincere. Dedicated. Hopeful. Happy. Imperfect.
Kettle – What 5 words would others use to describe you?
Misha - I really don’t know. My brain could skew that anywhere from complete loser adjectives to total goddess adjectives, that’s why I try not to concern myself about it too much!
Kettle – What is next for you creatively?
Misha - Well I am rather enjoying this subject, I’ll probably explore it a little while longer.
“Forces of Nature” is currently showing at Kettle Art in Deep Ellum. The show runs through mid-July. Please come by and check out the work in person. You won’t be disappointed.
The evening was spent celebrating six “Forces of Nature;” Cheryl Baker, Misha Flores, Karla Garcia, Corey Godfrey, Jennifer Gregory Portz & Julia Schloss.