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Artist Talk: Michelle Kesselman

September 17, 2021
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Michelle Kesselman is a Brooklyn-based decorative artist, trained in fine art, decorative painting, and installation. Her second art installation with IC, Where it Goes, located in The Makers Guild is the latest addition to The Collision Project's art elevator collection. (The freight elevator is only open from Friday - Sunday) Describe the work that you do. I embellish surfaces (walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, anything)  using different techniques with paint and other mediums-- creating finishes to look like wood, marble, or unique designs and patterns. I like to put a new spin to the ancient techniques of decorative painting. Describe this mural/artwork....

Michelle Kesselman is a Brooklyn-based decorative artist, trained in fine art, decorative painting, and installation. Her second art installation with IC, Where it Goes, located in The Makers Guild is the latest addition to The Collision Project‘s art elevator collection. (The freight elevator is only open from Friday – Sunday)

  • Describe the work that you do.

I embellish surfaces (walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, anything)  using different techniques with paint and other mediums– creating finishes to look like wood, marble, or unique designs and patterns. I like to put a new spin to the ancient techniques of decorative painting.

  • Describe this mural/artwork.

The term “trompe l’oeil” is a painting or design intended to create the illusion of a 3D object. Much of what I do involves making people believe something is real, when in fact it is not. For this installation, we wanted to create an immersive experience using trompe l’oeil, allowing Industry City visitors inside the artwork! 

  • What inspires you as an artist? 

Since embarking on this artistic journey, I find myself begin immersed in various textures, shapes, and colors that surround me. Whether it’s large city structures, organic forms in nature, the feeling of a material, or even human connections.  With decorative painting, the possibilities are really limitless, so with every project comes new ideas and more motivation to push the boundaries to try new things.

  • What’s the favorite part of your job?

The whole process of creating something from start to finish. The planning, laying it out on the surface, applying and figuring out the composition, and the feeling of finishing. Not to mention, seeing the reaction of others – knowing that it impacts them in some way. 

  • How did you start as an artist? 

I left an office job to pursue painting at the Van Der Kelen Institute in Brussels Belgium. I deferred for a year since it was out of my price range– packed a backpack to work on marijuana farms in California to save up. With that and the help of my family, I was able to attend the Van Der Kelen Institute the following year, and that’s really where my journey began.

  • Piece of advice for artists out there? 

If you love the art you’re creating, keep doing it. I know we are our own worst critics, but let your passion motivate you. Look at every mistake as a lesson! Do not be afraid to seek advice when you feel you need it and keep on your path with confidence! 

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