Michael McLeod is an artistic painter in acrylic.
1. Michael, what age would you say you first began creating art? I would have to say around 6 or 7 years old. I would draw pictures of monster trucks mostly. I would begin drawing in the morning before school and work on it whenever I could during class. By the end of the day, I’d have my drawing complete. Then I would sell the drawing to kids on the playground for 25 cents. Kids really liked monster trucks back then. Who can blame them?
2. Did you create for the fun of it, because you couldn’t not create art or some other reason? I always created for fun. It was never structured, but always encouraged by my parents. Currently, I paint for a different satisfaction…the idea of starting something new and building it layer by layer and piece by piece. Then I step back when it is done and just admire what the mind is capable of. It’s very rewarding.
3. What age would you say you first began defining yourself as an artist? Others have always called me an artist even as a child, but it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I started to accept this title. I guess I started to see I was not only creating for myself, but also for others. It was an interesting shift in my life.
4. What are your opinions about being paid for art? Do you consider yourself a professional artist? Ha, ha. I think my response to question number one also ties into my opinions on getting paid for my work. And I do consider it work. There is nothing easy about what I do. I really don’t think I’ve been on this earth long enough to consider myself a professional at anything…there is always more to learn.
5. Have you had formal training? If so, how do you feel it has helped you as an artist? How do you feel it has hindered you? If not, what are your thoughts about formal training? I think formal training is good. It depends on how you receive the information you’re being given. As an artist you are already creative. So, I think it is good to take lessons from others and structure it to your own world of thinking. I did a short stay at RMCAD, a private art school in Colorado, but left and became a tattoo artist in Los Angeles (LA). The things I learned in both places are gold to me. So, yes, take in everything you can.
6. If you could create art with a different medium than the one you are most well known for, what would it be? It would hands down be film! Music videos to be exact. There is just so much that can be done. My imagination already works in this dramatic live motion picture kind of world. It is kind of strange even to me that I’ve yet to explore this more.
7. What inspires you? Do you have some sort of “something” that when you do it ideas for new projects just seem to flow? Do you ever record your ideas for future use? If so, what is your favorite way? It is a mix between music and my environment that fuels my creative thinking. I am ridiculously observant. The smallest thing will get my attention. I’ll be locked on that moment taking in everything, the rhythms of the music, the lighting outside all the way to the temperature of the air around me. It is in these moments that images come to me and my imagination comes to life (until something else distracts that…). In other words, I am the poster child for A.D.D. I do forget more ideas than I create. So, I try to keep a sketch book in my car and by my bed.
8. What is your favorite curse word? The F… Bomb will always be my weapon of choice.
9. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? I love the ocean and all the critters in it. So, I think a marine biologist or pro surfer. Yeah, I can see myself touring the world surfing all day.
10. What’s next for you? What else is possible? As we all know anything is possible. For right now, it is all about sharing my work with great people. Keeping it simple. Enjoying the ride.
Michael’s art can be viewed at www.bluecanvas.com/gutter1 or good old www.facebook.com/#1/michael.mcleod.96155. Questions or inquiries may be made directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
FYI: This is the first (and thanks so much to Michael) of what your LA Art Examiner plans to be an ongoing series of “10 Questions with artist _____” for as long as there are artists who would be willing to share about their art and self. If you are an artist and would love to be featured in an article like this one, please contact Lori at email@example.com.