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Georgeen Michaelessi

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Could you introduce yourself? 

I am an artist and art teacher based out of Westchester, NY. I teach elementary studio art in The South Bronx. 


Could you tell us about your paintings in terms of your painting and your stating? 

These paintings have been my interpretation on what is going on in the world through my personal lens. It’s been an outlet to deal with the anxieties of this pandemic and having to stay home with no social interactions. I imagine the shapes to be like a map that mimic the forms of bacteria. These paintings have a lot of layers and use very thick paint which give it a physical texture. The start to come to life with a weight and form of its own. The colors are very bright  fluorescents in chaotic schemes. I wanted to bring some light into these dark times while still naming the chaos we are facing.  


What inspired/motivated your painting? 

My work informs my teaching, as well as my students work informs my process. It’s a pretty neat symbiotic relationship, but in order to truly deliver an authentic arts experience to my students, I need to keep up my end of the bargain. I’ve learned I need to continue to make the time to create, even if it’s a simple as sketch booking daily… .


Where does the process begin for you?

 I always start off a painting by priming the paper with a color. Sometimes this means painting the whole page a solid color, sometimes I just fill it up with marks of one color. This becomes the bottom layer that you can see some remnants of, and really becomes the driving force of the rest of the painting. 


Would you like to introduce any other work?

The piece that sort of kickstarted this series, while not totally nonobjective, was a direct interpretation of COVID19 and I do enjoy that piece. I actually feel my last body of work I did strangely reflects this time we are facing. The work exhibits abstracted rooms, with no figures, that dealt with me feeling isolated in my own head and disassociating from reality. Lots of parallels to how I feel now, but due to an outside force. 


Do you have any artist who inspires or influences your art?

For sure, some of the great abstractionists like Kandinsky, Gorky, Miro, Matisse, and Klee. I also like to look at fiber artists like Shelia Hicks and Rachel Hayes.  I have some close artist friends who are a big inspiration as well. I also like to watch old cartoons and claymation and animated movies which definitely has influenced growing up and now. Recently watched Midnight Gospel which was awesome. 


It could be funny questions. You said that your painting is process based, and created by several layers. I’m just wondering how many layers you usually create on each painting.

That’s a good question! It depends. I really did just try to count on one of the paintings and got a soft 7. Haha. 


You said that each layer is affected by the previous. When you were in the process of creating the next layer related to the previous, what relationship did you find between them?

The bottom layer really becomes the driving force. When creating the next layer, I consider the color that would compliment or contrast the most. I lay down the next layer of paint by closely looking at and following the brush strokes of the previous layer. This is basically repeated, the paint tells me where to go next. This gives the chaos some sort of a flow. The top layers is where I will begin to decrease in brush size for smaller details that I place by going against the flow of marks for contrast. 


I am just wondering if there is a relation between you(personality, background, environment) and the process of art-making since your paintings were created in process based.

I think that my work is always an extension of me. It’s how I deal with my emotions and process what is going on around me. It’s always personal. I think in terms of this work specifically, we all have layers. We all are changing and growing and editing ourselves. We may mask what is underneath, but if you look close enough you can see it come through.

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