This week we catch up with emerging Canadian artist, Michael Thiessen. Michael was born in Dawson Creek, BC but grew up in Vancouver. Michael's work is inspired by his travels and growing up in a rapidly changing environment. His work continues to attract interest from both new and established collectors and he is one of our "artists to watch".
AP. Give us a quick bio, where did you grow up? What or who inspired you? What are some of your proudest achievements?
MT. I was raised in Vancouver by a single mother. We lived three blocks from the beach and I was a fairly introverted child, so I spent a lot of time by myself scaling the rocky shore and inventing storylines; I guess you could say I was inspired both by the natural landscape and by Stephen Spielberg.
AP. How would you describe the type of art you create?
MT. It's representational. I try to invoke the feeling of being there as much as is possible. I would probably have to say that my work is about place, more than anything else; and our place in the world.
AP. What project(s) are you currently working on?
MT. I have been working on a series of paintings inspired by San Francisco scenes, and I just recently started a series on Vancouver. The paintings are colder and wetter looking, so it's kind of refreshing in an odd way.
AP. Where can people find your art? How can they purchase a work?
MT. I am represented by galleries in both Edmonton [Bugera Matheson Gallery] and Vancouver [South Main Gallery] so anyone interested in purchasing a work can contact either gallery. I am also fairly active on social media, and post pretty much everything on my Facebook Artist page.
AP. Who is your favourite creative person? Why?
MT. It's hard to pick just one, I could pick dozens. Probably Henri Matisse, I've always been inspired by his paintings.
AP. What is your favourite album of all time?
MT. Right now I'm listening to The Kinks, but I really love all genres of music. Earlier today I was listening to Kendrick Lamar, so the type of music I listen to really depends on my mood. I like how music can really shift your outlook or perspective - I'm always listening to music when I paint, so there's no doubt that it influences my work.
AP. If you didn’t have to work what would you do with your time?
MT. Paint and travel.
AP. So not entirely different from what you do now, I guess that means you're on the right path.
AP. Speaking of being on the right path, what is your favourite journey?
MT. My girlfriend and I were living in London about a decade ago, and in the spring we quit our jobs and traveled around France for a month. I have a habit of falling in love with places, but no place has been as special to me as France.
AP. Do you have a favourite piece you have personally created? What is it?
MT. Usually my most recent work is my favourite. If I end up looking at them too long I get sick of them, and I want to change them so I'm my own worst critic. There are a handful that I think turned out well, 'Dolores Park' is one that I particularly like.
AP. What are your thoughts on the influence of fashion and music on visual arts?
MT. I think it's immense. It's not always easy to tell in the moment just how much influence art forms have on each other, but I think retrospectively you can always spot it.
AP. Who is your favourite author?
MT. Ernest Hemingway. I like his straightforward writing. It is good.
AP. Where do you go for inspiration?
MT. I like to go for long drives; that's probably apparent in my work. Lots of my paintings are sort of homages to the open road.
AP. What is your greatest achievement in life so far?
MT. I think it hasn't happened yet.
AP. What is your favourite colour?
MT. All of them. Although in my work I tend to use a lot of cerulean blue, and a lot of yellow oxide.
AP. What is the one thing you want to share with everyone reading this?
MT. I know every artist says this, but I'm gonna say it anyway, buy lots of art!!! No one that I know has ever regretted it.
For more information about Michael's work, or to purchase a work, please contact the South Main Gallery at 604-565-5622 or Bugera Matheson Gallery at 780-482-2854.