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Meet Michelle Kaye

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Kaye.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Michelle. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My artistic journey began fairly early. Being born and raised in one of the largest art hubs, Pasadena California, my love of the arts started at a young age. Having two creatives as parents helped nurture my exploration into my God-given talents. My art started getting attention back in grade school after winning a few scholastic art contests. When I got to middle school my skills allotted me to attain a scholarship to take a drawing class at Art Center College of Design.

I attended Maranatha High School, where my art teacher, Ms. Barnhart, continued to push my abilities. She recommended me for the Ryman Arts Program, a nonprofit organization that provides college-level art classes to high school students. I was accepted into the program, and later l even worked briefly as their Special Events Intern. By my sophomore year my art was featured in a Teen Vogue Magazine, and I won a Converse design competition where my shoes were manufactured and sold. Junior year, four upperclassmen along with myself won the Tournament of Roses “Roses on Parade” competition after painting a five-foot ceramic rose. Later that year, I was selected as a finalist in the Lucerne Art of Dairy contest, where I was required to paint a life-size ceramic cow. Opportunity struck twice when I was selected again the following year to paint yet another life-size ceramic cow.

After my eventful high school career, I continued my study of Fine Arts at Pasadena City College. In 2013 I placed third in the Insidious 2 Art competition, where my piece was lauded by director and producer James Wan.

After my time at PCC, I later went on to win the Marc Jacobs Street Marc competition and was awarded tickets to the show New York Fashion Week in 2016. More recently, my dad and I took 2nd at the 2018 Pasadena Chalk Walk Festival for our mural of a larger than life cheeseburger.

In 2017 started to work in wholesale fashion as a stylist and designer and content creator. It was during this time I started to take my technical skill and really hone in on my personal aesthetic and artistic voice. My fashion influence started to become more evident in my paintings as the portraits began to take on a design feel. I later left the fashion industry to work from home which allotted me the ability to pour into my craft even more. With the support of my husband John, I jumped into pursuing my art full time at the beginning of 2019. My husband and I welcomed a baby girl in the Spring, and even with the new responsibilities of motherhood, I do sees this time as most creative season yet.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I believe that being an artist has always been easy because it’s something that just poured out of me. I think the hardest struggle has been fighting the urge to compare myself and my work to others. I think it’s the biggest limitation to creativity. Your focus shifts from what you enjoy about your work and the process to trying to have your work and success mimic someone else. You start to covet another person’s abilities or success, and you don’t take the time to be grateful for your own. It’s the biggest stealer of joy. Your work no longer becomes about you, but what you think others will like or respond to. You start to lose passion and it just becomes work like anything else.

Please tell us more about your art.
Michelle Kaye Art is a sole proprietorship. I essentially make art and sell it usually through either art fairs or commissions. My work has varied over the years in terms of subject, but my favorite has always been portraiture. My paintings tend to maintain a minimal background so the viewer has the ability to create their own environment and story. The majority of my work is done in acrylic though my blending technique is very reminiscent of oil painting.

The thing I would say I’m most proud of when it comes to creating art would be my versatility and ability to adapt to different art styles. A good amount of my work comes through commissions, so I’ve learned to utilize my technical abilities to bring a client’s vision to life. I’m glad I don’t try to put myself in one particular artistic box. I think it really stretches me as an artist. It also allows me to take the thing that I learn from different projects and apply them to my personal pieces.

What were you like growing up?
Growing, I would consider myself a very precocious little girl. I enjoyed observing the world around me and was very keen to engage in conversations with those older than me. I had nerves of steel and was very comfortable with performing and public speaking. I also enjoyed exploring the outdoors and being in nature.

Anything creative or involving the arts, I was into. You would find me in choirs, musicals, plays, writing poems or short stories and of course making art. I always loved to draw, and at times it got me in trouble when I’d put it above working on other subjects in school. Though I disliked homework and busywork, I was a good listener, so if a teacher talked about the subject I could remember it when it came to a test.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Monique Sturgeon

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