Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Art · Del Michel‘s Abstract World
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Del Michel‘s Abstract World

Rick Coates - April 28th, 2008
This weekend, Gallery Fifty will open its three-month exhibition titled “The Ways of Seeing: The Abstract Art of Jennifer Gardiner Lam, Delbert Michel and Debra Lanning.” The exhibition will kick off Saturday, May 3 with an artists’ reception from 6-9 p.m. in the Mercato (lower level) of Building 50 at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons.
Artist Delbert Michel, who spent 39 years as a professor of art at Hope College in Holland, took time to answer a few questions and offer his reflections and observations on the world of art. Michel moved to Northern Michigan in 2003 and opened up a working studio/gallery in downtown Traverse City. While he doesn’t keep gallery hours, people do track him down in his somewhat hard-to-find studio located in the alley near Jack’s Market and The House of Doggs.
Several of his works have been purchased by collectors and have found their way into private, corporate, university and art museum collections throughout the United States.

NE: When did you take an interest in art?
Delbert Michel: At a very young age I started drawing. My first hero was the illustrator Norman Rockwell. I took an interest in fine arts when I went to college. Prior to that I had little exposure to art as I grew up in a small town in Indiana -- I had not visited any galleries or art museums. At college I was drawn in by the work of a faculty member. Before I knew it, I was studying art history and various forms such as abstraction. Originally I went off to college to pursue a career as a commercial artist because I was unaware of other art professions.

NE: What inspired you to pursue a career as an art professor?
Michel: To me, teaching art is an extension of being an artist. You have to define yourself: are you a teacher/artist or artist/teacher? I think it is important to identify yourself as the latter because you are consumed by the whole idea of art and you want to share that passion. For me, teaching was also a way to make a living. Being an artist is a tough living. Sometimes I am not even sure it is good for some to try and make a living as an artist because you end up making art for someone else, instead of what inspires you. I do take on commissions, but because my work is abstract and spontaneous, there is no way I can predict what it is going to look like. The size of the work is the only specification I am
willing to accept from the purchaser.

NE: What are some of the things that inspire your work?
Michel: Everything. I tend to pick up on the culture, the landscape, the music and the atmosphere of the place I am visiting. Then I reflect on how it all connects. A lot of my current work was inspired by a trip to Peru last June. I was taken in by the culture, the music and the colorful garments and how it all flowed together.

NE: What drew you into abstract art?
Michel: There has always been a lot of built-in prejudice against abstract art work. During a short period of time in the ‘70’s I tried realism. What I learned from that was I was more interested in the abstract aspects of those works, so I got out of realism as quickly as I got into it. As an artist, you are on a journey of constant exploration and that exploration has led me to create abstracts.

NE: Does it upset you when someone says; I like your work, but it won’t go with my couch or carpet’?
Michel: (chuckling) I understand where they are coming from. No, it doesn’t upset me. Here is why I am just pleased they have made a visual connection to the work. I believe strongly that the creative part of art is not just from the artist but also comes from the observer. The observer has to bring in their own experiences and make a connection with the work of art, and when that happens they make a connection with the artist.

NE: What is your assessment of the art scene in Northern Michigan?
Michel: First, there are a lot of talented artists who live here but are not local artists. They like the culture and the atmosphere here but their works are world class and often they are afforded the
opportunity to exhibit all over the country. Overall, I think there is strong support for the arts here and we are fortunate to have Interlochen, Dennos Museum and numerous galleries and community art centers.
What frustrates me is I feel the visual arts here have lagged behind other art forms in the region, notably music. I think the work that is here is at times taken for granted because it is perceived as local, and that should not be the case. Also, I feel that we need to do more to promote Northern Michigan as a cultural destination. We have it all here, from the wineries to the galleries to the great restaurants.

NE: What are your observations from an art educator’s standpoint as to the challenges faced for students today?
Michel: The biggest pressure young artists feel is the pressure to immediately make a mark in the art world. I call it self-conscious-avant-guardism. You do something simply because you know that will distinguish you from everyone else. I believe, as an artist, the development of your mark comes in a very natural way and not forced.
To view more of Delbert Michel’s works check out delbertmichel.com. For additional information about “The Ways of Seeing: The Abstract Art of Jennifer Gardiner Lam, Delbert Michel and Debra Lanning” exhibition at Gallery Fifty visit galleryfifty.com. The artist reception will take place May 3 from 6 to 9 pm and the works will remain on exhibit through the end of July.


 
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