Due to the overwhelming number of requests for more information about my life, process, and art, and my inability to respond individually in a timely manner, I’ve decided to post a broad biography and artistic statement for you to use for your research and reports. I appreciate your interest in my art, and am sincerely thankful for your positive feedback and curiosity.
~Michael D. Edens
I was born in 1980 and raised in Rochester MN, with my Mom and Dad, a younger brother, and younger sister. I currently live in Houston TX with my wife. When I was a child, I had a strong urge to create things, not just artistically, but I liked being inventive and imaginative. I enjoyed drawing and sculpting a lot, and would spend hours playing with homemade playdough, crayons, and construction paper. The enjoyment I got from these activities is a feeling I’ve pursued most of my life.
Other people, even my parents, didn’t always understand my art. Abstract art was especially confusing to the people around me, and I was encouraged to paint pretty landscapes. I enjoy pretty landscapes too, but there was more that I wanted to express. And I understood that sometimes I was able to express myself and my emotions with colors and abstract shapes.
Eventually, I found other people at school and over the Internet that understood there are a variety of ways to create art as well. It took a long time to find encouragement and support from other people, and I suppose it was never a guarantee, but I couldn’t stop creating, doodling, and sketching even if nobody else in the world affirmed my work. I also began to see there is always more to learn, both about the process of creating from other people, and about myself and how I would like to create.
As I’ve grown up, my understanding of the process of creating art continually changes. I learned a lot about technique, color theory, and practiced a lot. And every other artist’s work I see influences me in some way, whether I realize it or not. Even day to day events can influence art too, like a particularly interesting sunset, or an interesting scientific concept, or the makeup on someone’s face. I don’t walk around all the time like this, but sometimes I am able to let everything that I can sense in this world pour through me, and I let my interpretation come out on paper.
The process is difficult to explain in words, but it’s a very non-judgmental, observant process. In a way, it doesn’t feel like I’m the one creating the art. For example, I usually don’t plan on what I’m going to draw, or what colors I will use. I open up to the world around me, and the images and color choices seem to pop in to mind when they are ready. I suspect this is due to years of learning about art, and practicing until I don’t think about the process too much. I could always use some more practice, and I was about 25 years old before this process felt comfortable. However, I’m still unable to repeat it consistently.
Additionally, as all of this artistic growth was occurring during my high school years, college years, and beyond, I was going to school and working a lot. I’ve sold a few drawings and paintings here and there, many to friends and family, but I’ve been primarily working as a Marketing Specialist for businesses and individuals for the past 10 years. I love my job very much, because it allows me to be creative in a different way. But I still use the same process of taking in as much information as possible about a person or business, and creating a plan that gets them attention for their work. This creative process is a big part of my life, but again, I suspect it will change over time.
I also feel that it’s important to note that I don’t primarily create art for money. While I think most working artists are fantastic, and I would enjoy trying it someday, I currently create from a uniquely spontaneous attitude, both in subject matter and style. Also, in terms of consistency, there are times when I will draw every day for weeks or months at a time, and other times I’ll focus on activities like reading, playing games, and dealing with the day-to-day events of life for months or years at a time.
For more information and examples of my artistic process, I’ll refer you to an Interview with me in 2008, as well as to time-lapse videos of my drawing/painting process via YouTube. And for more biographical facts, there’s the original School/Work Biography and Art Resume.
I’ll end with noting that I personally don’t think there is any right or wrong way to create art. I think it’s an expression that is unique to individuals and their experience of the world, which changes over time. Practicing art the way everyone around you says it should be done can be helpful, as there is a lot to learn. But through it all, for me, real joy comes from loving and accepting myself completely, living life fully, and expressing my unique perspective. And thanks to the Internet, sharing with the world.
Thanks again for your interest in my art, life, and process. And good luck with your artistic pursuits!
~Michael D. Edens