Michael Stanley

artist statement

I would describe my artistic practice as compulsive.  The drive to create comes from deep inside me and is something I would do even if I weren’t being paid.  I typically work on multiple projects simultaneously, which allows me to hone my skillsets in a variety of media while pursuing my diverse artistic interests, a including large-scale public sculpture, sculptures to be used for exhibitions, and studio furniture design.  I have a deep appreciate for both functional and non-functional art, and am always looking for ways to integrate art into peoples’ daily lives.  

 

I have created and installed seven large-scale public sculptures as well as dozens of furniture commissions and truly enjoy designing site-specific artwork. My current body of sculptural work is a direct response to the current political climate and our country’s recent conversations on the reality of truth and perception.  Each sculpture speaks to a social, economic, or political issue our culture faces and presents it in a playful, approachable narrative.  For example, World Wide Watcher is about the rise of social media and how it has left many of its users feeling more isolated and alone than ever. I have found the current political environment a rich source of inspiration and I look forward to adding to this body of work in the future.  

 

In terms of the history of art, I draw inspiration from Futurism, Cubism, Minimalism, Post-Modernism, and Post-Structuralist theory when designing new artworks.  I embrace the “fine art” traditions as well as the “kitsch” and will appropriate imagery or utilize found objects in my work to help deliver the narrative.  I rely on my knowledge of Semiotics and trust that my audience will be able to find clues to help point them in the right direction.   

 

Additionally, much of my inspiration comes from the unfortunate events of Hurricane Katrina, which occurred while I was living in New Orleans. I use these personal memories to influence my artwork in a more idealistic and positive direction:  we can do more good working together than we can individually.  The aesthetics of my work are also influenced by the industrial memories of my childhood and travel; areas where the natural world and urban development meet, such as a bridge crossing the muddy waters of the Mississippi River or the unseen beauty of overgrown abandoned brick warehouses.  The combination of human innovation with the unrelenting forces of nature has always captivated me, and I often incorporate that look of strength amidst decay in my artwork.