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Art & Life with Crystal Michaelson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Crystal Michaelson.

Crystal, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Growing up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., exposure to culture and history fostered a lifelong love of the arts. I was fortunate to have a mother who painted and encouraged me to take art lessons when I was eight years old. I also danced from the age of three. So, involvement in many forms of artistic expression were highly encouraged.

In my mid-teens, I moved to Los Angeles with my mother, brother, sister, nana and our miniature schnauzer, having lived the majority of my life in southern California, I developed a great appreciation for the dynamic landscape and bohemian spirit enveloping the beaches, mountains and deserts around me. The colors and textures have been a source of inspiration. Many of my earlier works were abstract, nonrepresentational landscapes. Often aerial views of the canyons, freeways and roads.

I studied art in school…attending and taking classes at UCSB, California State University Northridge, Art Center and UCLA.

I have always been involved in art and design, in one way or another. I was a make-up artist and had my own line of cosmetics. I have had numerous businesses involved with painting. a t-shirt and sweatshirt line that I designed and was sold internationally. I’ve worked with designers creating custom painted environments. I also had a furniture store, specializing in custom and hand painted and finished pieces.

I have two grown children, Elex and Danielle. Who are my sunshine and I being incredibly proud of them? I am lucky to have them both live close by. My husband, David and I live in Venice Beach with our Maltese, Soleil and our terrier mix, Jackson. Being at the beach has really affected the colors in my work…definitely more muted and subdued.

I am fortunate to be able to paint now for the sake of the art… without constrictions of the commercial art world, showing my work in galleries, as well as working with numerous designers. My artwork can be found in many private collections throughout the United States and internationally.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Recently I find myself exploring the yin and yang in my life. Fascinated by extremes, I am moved and touched by the differences in our society, the polarization generating our volatile political climate, as well as the variety of our rich mixed cultures… this has led me to experimenting with balance and mixing components to create abstract pieces reflecting the push and pull I am feeling. I have been combining two or more pieces that I would never imagine working together…but, I am loving the challenge of daring to try new combos and new techniques. Throwing the rules out, Mixing opposing media. And loving the surprise results. I sometimes have a tendency to work very quickly and just when I like what I have done. I’ll add or take something away and my art has now changed forever. Rather than get upset about my “ruined” piece, I now can push on and realize that the piece really wasn’t finished at all. It wasn’t meant to be the other way. It was all part of the process. I have learned to give myself permission to mess up. If I don’t push myself past the “pretty”, I don’t give myself the opportunity to come up with something exciting. This new-found freedom in art making has allowed me to approach my art making more fearless.

I love working with raw materials. I like the way the paint is absorbed on an un gessoed piece of canvas, the way I can scratch into a piece of wood and see how it reacts, trying new media on different types of paper…

Working real large is so exciting, but I also like to work on small pieces. That I combine to create unique integrated artwork. My art expresses the interplay I have with my environment. Intuitive marks and gestures guide me through a process of layering, constructing, deconstructing and reconstructing. A feeling comes over me, and I know it is time to stop.

I remember a teacher telling me that everything has a starting point, “a dot”… and “a line” follows it. The “dot/line theory.”. I have taken that with me throughout all I do. I invite the viewer to see what they want in my abstract work and hopefully have an emotional response.

What would you recommend to an artist new to the city, or to art, in terms of meeting and connecting with other artists and creatives?
Being an artist is definitely a solitary existence. I actually enjoy spending time alone in the studio with my dogs.

But, On the flip side. I have a group of artist friends that I get together to paint with every few months (those who can make it). We are “art sisters”. And share very special, creative, close relationships with each other. It is so important and wonderful to have exceptional people who have similar interests that you can communicate with…

Being an artist can be very isolating. Most of the time I am alone in the studio. (well not completely, I have my 2 dogs with me) … Through the galleries I am associated with, I have met some extraordinary artists and people. The bond we share is unique. I have been so fortunate to be part of a remarkable art community.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I have been so lucky to work with some fabulous people. Some galleries where my work can be seen are Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts in Downtown LA., Janssen Art Space in Palm Springs and Westervelt’s Fine Art in Laguna Niguel. I am privileged to work with some very talented designers…my favorite is Lindsay Bentis of Thread Art and Design, in the Boston area, please check out my website and other sites to see some of my work.

If you are interested. You can follow me on my Website:
Facebook: Crystal Sussman Michaelson, Crystal Michaelson,
Instagram: crystalmichaelsonart and my Email: Please send me an email or message for more information…or questions about work.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 2429 Wilson Avenue
    Venice, California 90291
  • Website:
  • Phone: 818.324.7086
  • Email:
  • Instagram: crystalmichaelsonart
  • Facebook: Crystal Sussman Michaelson …and Crystal Michaelson
  • Twitter: crystalmatisse

Image Credit:
Crystal Michaelson and Elex Michaelson

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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