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"Inspire and Empower" - Featured Artist - Michelle Gonzalez

Updated: Aug 10, 2020

Aristotle, the famous Greek philosopher was once quoted saying, “The aim of art is not to represent the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” Apart from the superficial aspect of art, it always holds a deep meaning with its creator. A purpose, reflection or a special message. The beauty of art is when others viewing the artwork can find this link, or have their own interpretation of what it means to them and use this to their advantage. Use this perspective to hone their own demons and bloom their individualistic identities.

Art has been excessively used in the field of psychology. From psychological analysis to artistic therapy, its benefits and contribution have been seen on a large scale. Artistic expression has been very useful to those suffering from depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder etc. Art therapy can be valuable in navigating anxiety. It can become another healthy tool in our collection whether you are suffering from anxiety that is occasional or chronic. One big benefit of art therapy is its ability to calm the nervous system. When we’re focused on creating, our attention shifts away from worrisome ruminations. For many artists, holding on to these healing properties of art is essential to their work.

Michelle Gonzalez is a Filipino artist living in the Philippines itself. The main art form that she specializes in is watercolors. Her Instagram page is a proof of all her beautiful current trends, ranging from loose floral to botanical watercolor. The lightness and airiness of her brush strokes can be felt through her paintings. With depictions of birds to picturesque floral paintings sprawled all over her feed, it is truly a sight for sore eyes.

Every artist wants to send a message through their art. To know that someone out there connects with your work and that it helps them in some way is the best gift one can receive. Her aim is to inspire watercolor beginners through her art, as well as those who are using art to manage their stress or anxiety, or use art as therapy for mental or physical health.

Michelle has been painting with watercolors since 2018. She painted on sketchbooks almost every day to learn more about the medium and also to cope with her own stress and anxiety. In 2019, a wonderful miniature painter and modern calligrapher, Niña Hidalgo, invited her to have art challenges collaboration with her and an amazing art supplies business, Hue & Ai. This experience motivated her to continue engaging with her followers with more art challenges. Later on, she found herself connecting with more artists and art brands. Latter part of 2019, she started to teach on Skillshare and it has been a remarkable journey since then.

Self-perseverance and belief in your abilities takes one a long way. Michelle’s personal growth throughout her art journey is one that seeps immense pride into her. She was not fortunate to have support from her parents to pursue her love for fine arts when she was younger, and so what she currently is and has, is something that she never thought she would achieve. At her age, she never thought she would ever become creative again. She thought her skills were lost and is so glad that she has evolved and improved through the last couple of years. To see that someone could rise up and succeed despite the lack of support from the strongest unit of family in their lives, really sparks a flicker of hope within people. Such stories restore their belief and confidence in their own skills.

During this pandemic, when hope and motivation are on an all-time low, Michelle along with Moonster Handmade Leather and an art friend who she greatly admires, has initiated an art challenge to spread positive messages for front liners all over the world, #apartbuttogetherinart. Through this art challenge, artists were encouraged to post their artworks dedicated to front liners. The winner receives a prize for themselves and another one for the front liner of their choice. This also ensures to create a priceless support system between those who are on the front lines and the rest of us. A sense of appreciation and gratitude, as well as a token for their endless hard work and dedication to saving lives.

Her message to other artists is through commending everyone who creates art because this benefits not just themselves but others as well. Their commitment to creating art not only gives them growth, joy, and so many emotional, physical, and psychological benefits, it also gives everyone else the feeling of wonder, inspiration, and joy. During this chaotic time, they can use their gift to spread positive energy into this world.

Art gives students a unique perspective into anything. It widens their imagination, breaks boundaries and enables them to go out of the box. Her advice to students out there would be to keep trying, never think it to be too late to venture into their artistic capabilities and realize the power that art holds.

We at ARTOZE encourage and highly appreciate such actions where artists come forward to stand along with the other fellow community members to share their experiences, views and knowledge through "Inspire and Empower", a series By the Artists, For the Artists in association with ARTOZE Gallery and Exhibitions.

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