Thursday, April 19, 2012

INTERVIEW: Michael Shapcott - Painter

Strong expression, perhaps that's partly my impression for this artist's work. The first work that attracted my attention was a painting titled "Una", with sharp eyes characteristic and a smooth line that make up the whole painting into something that looks perfect. Colors he used were so sharp but still does not hurt the eyes. In some works he even uses soft colors, but still provide extra strength to the object’s expression that he created. With his success in the art world, Michael Shapcott, or I called him Mike, also turned out to ever had to struggle in finding his identity as a painter, he also had to convince the people around him about what he wants to do in life... Yes, something that may be passed by most great artist in realizing the desire in the art world. Some time ago, I had the opportunity to interview Mike, and here is the result of my conversation with him......

Name                     :  Michael Shapcott
City/Country           :  New Britain, CT USA
Email                     :
Website                 :
Twitter                    : @MikeShapcott
Facebook               : Michael Shapcott
Bio                         :  

Michael Shapcott (born June 6, 1982 in Hartford, Connecticut) is a Central Connecticut-based painter, known for his daring color palette and emotionally charged portraits. His work deals with highly detailed graphite underdrawings which he then paints with colorful washes in oil and acrylic paints. In addition to painting, Shapcott creates art videos that track his process of painting a painting and show his unique style of working.

Interview with Michael...
-  How long have you been an artist?
I loved to draw as a kid. I’d draw on the walls and make up comic books for my friends. I was always fascinated by art and used to stare at old album covers my parents had. In high school I was encouraged by my teachers and made the decision to attend Paier College of Art. While there I studied Illustration for two years and switched to Fine Art for the remainder of my studies. I learned techniques in various mediums like drawing, printmaking, watercolor, and oils. I received a good technical foundation but it wasn’t until after graduation that I started to find my own unique process and way of working.

-  Is being an artist a full-time career for you?
Yes. I made the decision to devote myself to art full-time shortly after graduating from college in the Spring of 2007. Financially, it was difficult. I lived in my parent’s basement for a couple years while finding myself and my style. Starting an art career in the midst of a financial collapse may not have been the most practical idea, but I was driven and knew I wanted to dedicate my life to what I loved most. It took me a few years to establish a bigger audience and develop a certain level of confidence in my work – a time that has proven to be invaluable for me. I am so grateful for the experiences and lessons I’ve learned so far. I’ve certainly grown a lot as a person and as an artist and things seem to improve more and more every year.

-  Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
I recently launched a Kickstarter project called Drawing a Drawing 365 ( It’s an ambitious project where I will create 1 portrait every day for 365 days, complete dozens of drawing and painting commissions, and release a full-length painting tutorial all in the course of 1 year’s time. This project is different from anything I’ve ever done not only because of its large scale but most importantly because of the personal nature of the portraits. This project gives me a chance to give back to those who believe in me and my work by creating an individual portrait of each backer that they can keep and cherish for years to come. Drawing is a big part of my process but I don’t showcase it as much as my completed paintings. I’ve always had an affinity with graphite. I love the smell of it, the texture, and the meditative mind frame it puts me in. Drawing a Drawing 365 allows me to express and celebrate this foundational element of my art.


-  What was your inspiration?
I find inspiration in many things – most notably in faces, which is probably why I paint them! My creations tend to coincide with what is happening in my life so I am usually drawn to paint faces that express what I am feeling at the time. I don’t think I’m very good at expressing how I feel in my everyday life so it’s really therapeutic to be able to express that emotion in my work.

-  "What is Art?" is certainly too big of a question to ask here, but what do you hope your audience takes away from your art? What statement do you hope to make?
I’ve never been one to want to make a “statement” – the most I’d like to do is tell a story. I want those who view my work to be emotionally impacted by what they see. My hope is that they walk away feeling something a little more, a little deeper and maybe even a little differently.

"The Girl and The Owl"

-  What was the best advice given to you as an artist? 
I mean no disrespect, but honestly, most of the advice I’ve gotten from traditional teachers and others in the “art world” has been outdated and doesn’t apply to the rapidly changing community artists find themselves in. Every artist is different and needs to find their own way of doing things – blaze their own path and represent themselves and their work in a way that feels right to them. The problem is that artists need to make money to live and now have to find ways to be even more creative on the business side of their careers. The way galleries and art establishments are set up right now, it makes it really difficult for artists to earn a profit and so we are turning to communities and projects independent of the art market. Fortunately, nothing stays the same forever. Change will happen and I hope it is for the benefit of artists.

-  Tell me about your work space and your creative process.
I’ve had to work in some pretty small spaces over the years, and although I’ve always made the best of what I had, I’m happy to say I currently have an entire room to myself. I like to call my space an organized mess. It’s filled wall-to-wall with pictures, materials, musical instruments, books, and little things that make me feel happy and inspired. I think it’s important for my creative process to be in an environment that I find comfortable and that encourages my self-expression.
My process continues to evolve and grow the more I create and experiment but I have found myself developing a way of working that has become more consistent over time and that has developed into something that is like a ritual for me. The easiest way to describe my process is to break it down into three steps: the graphite underdrawing; the overlay in acrylics; and the “wash” in oils. I suppose I can also describe the three steps like this: the meditation; the free expression; and the refinement.

 "Pele (Study)"

-  What has been the biggest challenge in the work you create?
One of my biggest challenges has been confidence and self-worth, which I’m pretty sure almost every artist struggles with. I think a big part of that has to do with the idea of “the struggling artist” that has been ingrained into us by society as a whole. It is sometimes hard to feel you are doing something worthy when others are not placing a high monetary value on it. And when the money’s not coming in, family and friends may have a hard time understanding or respecting what it is you are choosing to do with your life. This is definitely a challenging thing to overcome individually and collectively. I’ve made the choice to put myself out there anyway, keep going, and find a way to make whatever living I can off what I feel I was born to do.  (Of course the kind words and encouragement from fans and the rock-solid loving support of my fiancĂ©e helps too!)

-  Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?
I’m a social media junkie. I frequent Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DeviantArt, you name it. And whenever I find a new artist or blog I like, I add them to my Google Reader and keep up-to-date that way.

-  Do you have any exhibits to promote?
I have 3 exciting shows coming up with my amazing fellow artists at PRISMA Artist Collective: “Blood” at WWA in August; “Milk” at Fine Grime in November; and “The Animal in Me” at Subtext in February. 

"The Death of Crystallina"

Fiman prayudi Utama for

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