Michelle Graves

Where were you born? Year, Country, State. Where do you live currently?


Born in 1980, Lafayette, Indiana.  I have been living in Chicago, IL since 2004



What initially drew you to drawing pretty pictures?


I have always been drawn to creativity and making, deeply influenced by my parents occupations as a printer and a freelance mechanical drafter, who were and always have been very supportive of my creative endeavors.



Who is your favorite skateboarder, living or dead? Any ties to skateboarding?


Taking this opportunity to give a shout out to my skateboarding friends I grew up with, Tyrone Taylor of Lurkville Skateboards, Jesse Corbett, Larry Gibson, and a bunch of other "Daggers" that let me hang out and take pictures of their tricks when we were teens.



Who is your favorite artist, living or dead? 


I have a few artists and a collection that have deeply influenced me, Tracey Emin, Sean Landers, Jenny Holzer, Ralph Steadman, and the Museum of Jurassic Technology.  I really dig the work of Nychos, and some members of the Chicago Air Crew and Ava Grey. 



When you're not creating amazing works of art, what do you enjoy doing?


I've recently become an undergrad professor teaching Photoshop and Web Development, which is a nice challenge.  I really enjoy going out and being social, supporting my friends and their endeavors, and consciously experiencing everything that crosses my path.  I recently retired after 6 years of playing roller derby with the Chicago Outfit, so I'm trying to fill that time with making more art and collaborating.



Who are your biggest influences?


My biggest influences have been the people that have nurtured and pushed my innate need to make art.  Jim Mailloux and Jim Smith (my uncles), Louie Laskouski (high school photography teacher), James Nakagawa (undergrad professor), Jenny Magnus and Bryan Saner (grad school professors), and of course, my parents.

Besides specific people, I'm very influenced by current neuroscience and anatomical research.  That, blended with existential philosophy and technologic terminology, is the basis for my concepts.



What mediums do you enjoy working in?


I consider myself an interdisciplinary artist.  I think conceptually about my artwork and organize my ideas through writing and sketchbook work.  I use whatever medium lends the most to the ideas.  My current bodies of work have consisted of non-linear, freestyle, handwritten text made with ink on paper or a wall.  I also laser cut material, do live art, stencils, screen printing, make short videos and installations



Anything else you want to tell?


Thanks for the invite to participate with ArtDeckCo!