Fiber Artist Mychaelyn Michalec
In this episode, host Rodney Veal talks with Mychaelyn Michalec, a fiber artist and painter working in Dayton, who shares stories about how having a family has impacted her career as an artists, and how her residencies helped build her relationships with the rest of the art community.
[00:00:29] Rodney Veal: Welcome to our next podcast episode and I’m super excited to talk to Mychaelyn McKay, who is a awesome artist.
[00:00:40] Lady about town is doing such important work and just a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful artwork and I’m fanboying out. So that’s just kind of the nature of the beast of me doing this podcast. And she is going to talk about all things art and art making and motherhood and, and taking a break from art and then coming back to [00:01:00] it in so many special, hopefully amazing things because she is that person.
[00:01:05] So welcome Mychaelyn, in to the podcast.
[00:01:08] Mychaelyn Michalec: Thank you Rodney, and thank you for such a beautiful introduction, .
[00:01:13] Rodney Veal: I, and it’s like, and full caveat to the folks out there that we had to retape the podcast. So it is true what I’m saying about Mychaelyn. So this is really great.
[00:01:24] Mychaelyn Michalec: If you say it twice, then you really mean it.
[00:01:26] Rodney Veal: True. And you know, of course this is Valentine Day’s, week is Valentine’s Week as opposed to today that we’re recording. So yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s. A little candy heart, come talk to you. Aw, thank you. And, and I was thinking about the first time we met, because we met in 2015. Right. And you were exhibiting work in our, in my neighborhood, which is right Dunbar.
[00:01:48] Those, for, for those who live in Dayton, it’s historic district. Not that I live fancier or anything, but I just. Live in Dayton. But she was exhibiting her work at a storefront. And back in [00:02:00] 2015, we were like, who is this woman who’s showing her artwork in a storefront? So I want you to tell us how did you, what, how did you do that?
[00:02:11] Mychaelyn Michalec: Yeah, so I have a friend that worked at the National Aviation Heritage Area. And well, I should back up that like I. Decided after, I don’t know if it had been like 12, 13 plus years since I’d actually made any work and I, my kids were getting older and I felt like if I was going to, I always told myself like when they got in school, I was gonna.
[00:02:35] get back to my studio practice. Anyway, I started making work and a friend of mine’s like, what’s your plan? I was like, I have, I, I don’t, you know, I have been out of the loop. I had moved to Dayton in 2008, so it wasn’t like I was cud in into the art scene there, or if I knew any other, And so my friend was like, I [00:03:00] think you could have a show in my neighborhood.
[00:03:03] And so she took me to a woman that like manages a few properties there and I said, look, I’m an artist and I’d love to like show my work. in one of these abandoned buildings that you have. And she was like, so you want to like rent it for the month? And I was like, sure. But I was like, I basically can give you like a hundred bucks, like to cover the utilities.
[00:03:28] And because she, she wanted to actually rent it to me and I was like, I don’t think you understand. And, and I, it was the caveat. . If someone came along and signed the lease and wanted to move in right then, then I would either move to a different storefront or whatever. Anyway. I just wanted to like, put my work out there and have it seen, which is I think what most artists want.
[00:03:52] And I wasn’t sure how to do that in Dayton, so I just, Got an abandoned store and, and, and did [00:04:00] that. So yeah, I, I think it was like such a fun way to meet everybody in the community because people were like, who’s this like, Crazy lady, the rent storefront love and make it her own show. You know? I was like, oh, show.
[00:04:19] Anyway, so yeah, I, I, I met a lot of people in the Dayton Arts community because I think it like, kind of drew some attention because it wasn’t something that, like everyone, Was doing. And it wasn’t in, it wasn’t at Front Street or one of the typical like artists. Right, right. And so, yeah to me it was really a great introduction to a different community of people in Dayton.
[00:04:45] So like, I could find the other artists and yeah, I mean, so we met. It was a good experience. That’s how we met.
[00:04:53] Rodney Veal: That’s how we met. I mean, it served its purpose and what I loved about it. . It’s really funny to me because we all were like, [00:05:00] no one else was doing that. Which you kind of like, you know, it was like, wow, you could do this yourself.
[00:05:08] I mean, you really, you really were kind of setting the tone for the next, in essence, almost a decade in Teaton. You stopped from like, think about that, like, whoa. Of like, you know, you gotta, you kind of up into the apple cart, which is a really cool thing. So, I mean, the work was strong. I mean, it. Who is this woman doing?
[00:05:29] These big bold paintings? These expensive paintings? Because they were bold and, and colorful and exciting. I mean, I was like, I walked out. I was like, kid in the candy store. I’m like, who is she? Oh my God. I’m like, ah. I was just in complete awe. And so you talked about it and it is like, let’s talk about this fact that you had like stopped painting and being an artist for like 12, 13 years.
[00:05:57] I mean, I’m going to attribute [00:06:00] that to motherhood, but you tell me what, how do you attribute,
[00:06:03] Mychaelyn Michalec: I think some of it, a lot of it is motherhood. I mean, and also I think like at the time I, you see more of it now, like there’s a lot more push for women that have children that are artists and there’s whole communities around it.
[00:06:16] Maybe within the. I don’t know. For years I’ve seen a bigger, even bigger push and a lot more groups that are trying to, you know, be supportive for women that have children or, you know, families and. At the time, I think, because when I came out of school and I made certain choices to get married and have a family and, and then I just, I don’t know, I just felt like I didn’t really have a community.
[00:06:47] The internet was a, you know, a different game back then. Yeah. It was. So and I just, I mean, I just didn’t know how to be an artist with these other [00:07:00] things I felt. really kind of drained in my role and the things that I was doing. I just, I didn’t feel like I had time. I mean, there were like a number of factors, but also I think a really big one is just not knowing like how to find a community and get a, you know, and feel supported to make work.
[00:07:20] So it just took me some time to come back around to it. But it was always something that really bothered me. I felt like that I had let that part of myself go because I, I, I run into people sometimes and they feel guilty cuz they haven’t made work in like three months or six months or whatever. And I was like, try 13 years.
[00:07:44] Like 13 years. Exactly. You can always go back to it. So yeah, I, I think it took me a long time to come around and feel confident enough to make stuff and find a community and all those things that I think go into. [00:08:00] I don’t know, feeling comfortable and supported in, in your practice.
[00:08:07] Rodney Veal: Okay. So I mean, I, I’m kind of curious as like, you know, with this, that gap in time, I mean the, the, the prior to the 13 years and I love a dog entering into the story, so it’s all good.
[00:08:21] It’s super cool. Wait, wait. Your family. I, I’m, I’m expecting a cat to show up on my shoulder like a parent. One second. Oh, . The cat’s coming. I have a cat. It’s coming. Yes. And so it’s like, was your work, like, because of the break, did the work evolve, change different prior to the break? Yeah. I mean, what were you kind of focused in on before with this break as a heart maker?
[00:08:46] Mychaelyn Michalec: My work I don’t think is similar at all, except maybe in some techniques that I use to. draw work and sort of process through it. But to me, like [00:09:00] my work became about domestic life because I felt like it was the thing that like prevented me in a way from being an artist. So for me it was, it started It started first off with like a lot of furniture, which is the painting that you saw.
[00:09:17] Right? Right. Like, yeah, left. But then it became sort of like, I, I was taking photos all the time with my phone of my family and it became sort of about Liz, you know, distraction and what we commit ourselves to. So I, it was a lot of images of like, Somebody looking at their phone, somebody else doing something else, sort of like being in the same space with a group of people.
[00:09:45] But you’re all, it’s like when we logged on, I was like so close yet so far away, right? Know you can be in, you can be in a, in a house and with a bunch of people. , you know, you can be [00:10:00] physically close, but you know, have all this other distance. So the work was a lot of, you know, taking these images and then I would just make piles and piles of drawings and then sort of evolved in, into almost a documentation of, you know, my life at that time and, Sort of those domestic things that were going on.
[00:10:27] Rodney Veal: You seemed ahead of the curve in the sense of this kind of documentation of the domestic life, the internal life of an artist.
[00:10:35] You were kind of doing something and now everybody seems to have jumped on your bandwagon, to do and you’ve evolved it. I think it’s because it’s been an, the sin of a mission that we’ve always had the male gaze about.
[00:10:49] Life and domestic life and is always looking at the partner and never looks at the family unit or the, the relationships that are more intimate. It always seems [00:11:00] surface. Sometimes it feels distant and I will, if your work doesn’t feel distant, it just feels like all in.
[00:11:07] It just makes you, and it feels connective, like you feel connected to, you see an incident, you go, I can connect to this.
[00:11:14] Mychaelyn Michalec: I did feel like it was sort of a pent up, there was pent up energy like I was making, I, I mean, and I’m, it’s not like it was all masterworks, but I had a lot of creative energy, like, and so I made a lot of work in the last, I made up for the time that I wasn’t making work by making just a ton of work.
[00:11:36] I feel like I had to get that sort of out of me. But I mean there is a tradition of women making. Work about domestic life, but I also think that a lot of that has been labeled sentimental and oh, you know, for a certain, for certain reasons. And which is something, I mean, that’s a [00:12:00] term that’s always attached to women’s work when women are making stuff.
[00:12:05] Family life or domestic life? There’s always sentimentality is some, is a term that’s always attached to women’s work. If a man makes a work about family life like no one felt that way about Fairfield Porter. No one said, oh, he’s sentimental cuz he’s painting his family or whatever. So that was one thing that I.
[00:12:28] Really strongly about presenting, like the work ev even though that it’s always been term sort of sentimental, but presenting it sort of in a, in the way that, you know, with me in it and sort of these messy sort of moments that aren’t scripted and perfect. Kind of sub subvert that idea a little bit.
[00:12:50] But also I just love playing into the sentimental idea. I was like, you you call this sentimental, I’ll show you sentimental . [00:13:00] Yes. So there’s something I really love about sort of you know, because I, I know I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about being a woman that has a family and children and also making art about that sort of thing.
[00:13:15] But I mean that’s, I feel like some of my motivation for playing that up so hard cuz I you know, those ideas about you know, I mean these, this is usually the sort of work that doesn’t lend itself to a lot of. , you know, critical thinking sometimes because they say like, well, this is just a sentimental subject, and that’s kind of how the work.
[00:13:43] Also, I feel like I transitioned from painting into textile because I was like, well let you know. You’re gonna call it domestic, you’re gonna call it sentimental. How can I make it even more so in both? Technique [00:14:00] and material. And that’s why I turned to craft. Yeah. And textile making, because I was like, let’s just push this whole idea even more.
[00:14:11] Let’s make rugs, but make them about, you know, the same subject matter. .
[00:14:17] Rodney Veal: Is that a recent kind of transition?
[00:14:19] Mychaelyn Michalec: I’ve been making textiles, I wanna say like three or four years now. It’s been, at least when I started doing it, I felt like I just really had to throw myself completely into it in order to, because.
[00:14:35] I just didn’t have any experience. Well, I mean, I don’t know who has a lot of experience with a commercial rug tufting gun, but at the time, like there were no, there was like one YouTube video that I saw. I contacted a lot of artists that were using the same tools to ask questions. It’s gotten, it got really popular over the pandemic rug making, I dunno.
[00:14:59] And [00:15:00] and I, all these places sprung up and. YouTube videos and talk videos on how to use the equipment. Yeah, it got, it got super crazy. Or maybe it’s just my algorithm. Sometimes it’s hard for me to tell. It’s like, is this the most popular thing in the world now or is it just like the algorithm?
[00:15:17] Rodney Veal: No, it’s not the algorithm.
[00:15:18] Because I’ve, I’ve seen so many artists, particular coming out of England who really got into this sort of drug textile quilting. Process and I, and I, at first, I attribute it to like, while you’re in lockdown because of covid, right? , what else are you gonna do? You know, it’s like, well, let’s just go in for the, a new technic or a new genre.
[00:15:44] But it’s like, but I love the fact that you said, well, I’m all in on the subversion. That’s what I, that’s what I’m talking about. From two, you’ve kept that from 2015 to like the that that rebellious sort of like, well, I’m gonna do this. I’m like, I’m gonna keep going [00:16:00] and let’s, I mean that fearlessness and.
[00:16:03] I’ve kind of curious, cuz I, I, I’m a big fan of bi Butler who’s a quilt maker who’s just absolutely extraordinary. I ask that question because a lot of times when we’re making art, we don’t realize we’re in that moment of everyone else is doing a very similar thing.
[00:16:17] I see you at gallery shows and, and seeing other work. What is it about that part of the, part of the process of exploring other artists and exploring new techniques that fascinates you and should fascinate those who are making art?
[00:16:30] Mychaelyn Michalec: Textile artists are having a moment. I think craft, craft figuration is having a moment. Do we? Yeah. You know, figurative work using traditional craft techniques.
[00:16:42] Interested in all of it because obviously it’s something that I’m exploring in my own work.
[00:16:53] I don’t know . That’s ok. That, but yeah, it’s ok. No, no, no. This is great. Right? I mean, [00:17:00] there, there are a lot of really interesting textile artists. Erin Riley, do you know her work? No. No. Gigantic woven tapestries that are also autobiographical. Just super amazing. They’re so huge and. and just, yeah, just really, really intimate con content.
[00:17:23] And yeah, they’re just, they’re just really amazing and they’re very, I mean, she’s very open about her life in them. And so I also think that’s so interesting, like what she’s sharing about her, her life.
[00:17:40] Rodney Veal: Well, who are your personal favorites? I mean, because you know, I could tell that she really is speaking to you, so who else is kind of speaking to you in that regard and that kind of cool way.
[00:17:51] Mychaelyn Michalec: I also love, well, Trish Anderson . She does rug making, but it’s all abstract.
[00:17:59] Very [00:18:00] textural has done these huge installations. She’s really an amazing textile artist, but, you know, not from just from, you know, actual. , you know, material wise, we don’t have subject matter in common. I don’t, I mean, I don’t know. There’s, there’s just like too many to mention almost right now. Oh, Sutra Mattai.
[00:18:25] She is she makes these beautiful weavings out of old sorrys and sort of like these domestic objects. They’re really amazing and she’s been doing some installation work as well. . I, I really, I love her work as well. I don’t, I don’t know. I feel like I could prole on like, probably all day, but that’s, you know, ,
[00:18:50] Rodney Veal: but that’s how I found out about artists is when other artists talk about other artists who they get excited about.
[00:18:54] Like I’m, I’m, I Love Be Butler. And, and I, there was a, I, I did something about my, [00:19:00] one of my day jobs at Sinclair and a student asked me, what, what artist is speaking to you right now? And it was a career day thing. And I said, Kara Walker, she’s really speaking to me. And I we’re like, and, and. Who is that? I said, you need to look her up.
[00:19:13] She’s, she’s the real deal. , you know, who’s that? ? They’re like, who’s that? I, and I said, I said, just forewarned, it’s gonna be very in your face, very disturbing. Imagery and I like, but I’m fascinated in that fearlessness. So that’s what I love about like talking to artists. That’s why we’re like, you are sharing what you like is is gonna go out to the world.
[00:19:37] So hopefully they’ll find them and find you as well. And Right. And it was really funny cuz I was reading cuz I did that deep dive, I’m holding this up to the screen. John Burger. Yeah. You. , someone recommended this to me and I just got it. Okay. So I hadn’t even started reading it yet, and it was a quote that you said, [00:20:00] we never look at just one thing.
[00:20:01] We’re always looking at the relationship between things in ourselves. Right. You are quoted with saying that, and I was like, oh, this, this must be the book I need to read. I’m trying to remember who’s recommended this to. Maybe it was me. No if it might have been. I mean, I,
[00:20:18] Mychaelyn Michalec: I mean, I mean that’s, it’s, it’s kinda essential.
[00:20:20] Well, and then just, you know, I don’t know though the there’s a lot about the male gaze in there. So, which you know, in a lot of the work that I was doing about my family, I was, you. lurking or larger than life because I would be, it’d be like a selfie and I’d be shooting somebody over and just staring dead on.
[00:20:43] I think about, you know, things that he says about the gaze in there. The male gaze and yeah, so I mean, there’s, yeah, there’s a whole section too on the difference between naked and nude.
[00:20:57] Rodney Veal: Okay. So folks, this book is called [00:21:00] the Way of Seeing by John Berger. It’s Essential Reading. I just got the book and it’s worth it. So we’re gonna take a little short break in the conversation for a station break, but when we come back, we’re gonna talk some more about all things art.
[00:21:42] Rodney Veal: Mychaelyn, in motivation I, cuz this is, I’m kind of curious cuz I’m very curious about your motivation after this break because I think a lot of people, I think you talked about it briefly in the beginning, like. People say, I’ve been away from my art for three months or six [00:22:00] months.
[00:22:00] Are they’re away from that thing. That’s really driving them. You’re saying try 13 years. 12. 13 years. It’s like, so let’s talk about motivation because A, do you still feel motivated like you did after that burst when? 2015. Now the same way.
[00:22:19] Mychaelyn Michalec: I feel like every little thing that happens when you get that show or that residency or you sell a piece to a big collector, I feel like.
[00:22:33] that’s like, wow. You know, I, I get so motivated and not, that’s, that’s the only reason to keep going. But it, it does help validate it, it, in some ways, , you know, you feel like, oh yeah, they, they get it. They, they, you know, they get the work or like you feel like, You know, reaching someone or inspiring someone.
[00:22:58] And so, [00:23:00] yeah, I feel like that’s motivation in itself. It’s, it’s not the, you know, It’s not the same as it was in the beginning, but I just, yeah, it’s, it’s just as good.
[00:23:14] Rodney Veal: what I was looking at, like just making up for lost time. You jumped into a whole bunch of artists residencies. I was like, Oh my God.
[00:23:22] I was like, like digging into your, your background. I felt like I was being an investigative reporter, but I was like, she’s done a lot of like residencies and continue. Yeah. I, how important, I mean, let’s, let’s, for people who may not know, artist residencies are really important. and I think to an artist development, I’ve had two and I, I think that they were instrumental in the kind of work that I make.
[00:23:45] So talk about how important these things are. Stress it to people.
[00:23:49] Mychaelyn Michalec: Right. Well, I mean, it’s very important to me, like I was looking at ways at, of reconnecting back into the community and I do feel like a lot [00:24:00] of success in the arts comes from. Connecting with other artists because you can share opportunities, you can share each other’s work.
[00:24:12] So residencies for me, like I always felt like most importantly, the experience of meeting other artists and sort of that extremely focused time that you can have like away from. Your everyday life. For me, the, the residencies I did at the beginning were really great because I had never had that long of a stretch of period of time where I could just be only in the studio because of.
[00:24:49] That you know, my children were in school and basically when I first started making work, I was making it between the hours of nine to three, so that’s [00:25:00] not a whole lot of time. And then squeezing in little bits here and there and the evenings and on weekends and stuff. So that first residency was really great because I could just spend 10, 11.
[00:25:14] You know, thinking about work. And also I think the other great thing for me was just meeting and making a lot of connections because that’s, that’s helped with sort of showing work and I don’t know, having conversations about technique and things going on you know, issues that. As artists we’re trying to address with our work or any sort of thing like that.
[00:25:41] So I’ve, I’ve found that really helpful, like having a community like both locally, but kind of, you know, because of these residencies and like maintaining relationships with people through the internet and Instagram and those sorts of things as well. [00:26:00] But yeah, I really think, and, and the thing is it’s really a privilege.
[00:26:04] To be able to go to a residency because there’s so many, if, you know, I was just talking to a friend the other day and I thought, oh, well it’s gotta be great to go on a residency because you’re single and you don’t have to like, worry about someone taking care of your kids and all that stuff. , she’s single.
[00:26:28] So she also has to pay, you know, even if she’s going on this residency for a month, she has to have somebody like she has to pay her bills and her this and that, you know, so if she’s taking a leave from her other job to attend this residency. So they’re really great, but I recognize that there is a lot of privilege in being able to do that.
[00:26:52] both like with what kind of support that you have in your life and even like monetary support. I [00:27:00] was lucky cuz at the time You know, I, I was married then and my ex ex-husband was able to step up and take care of the kids in the house and those sorts of things. And because we had a combined living situation, you know, he was able to like handle those sorts of things.
[00:27:18] So yeah, I wish. , there were more opportunities for more artists of all means to sort of attend these things. Cuz I do think they’re really important to have that focus time and to be able to meet other people.
[00:27:34] Rodney Veal: Oh, no, I think, I think you’re absolutely right. I mean, it’s like, I, like I talked said earlier, I feel like that was really pivotal.
[00:27:41] and that shift to, for, for me to do this multidisciplinary work, I needed that time to figure out how the parts came together versus the struggle of like, I have a thesis to write. I need to pay my bills. I’m like, Ugh. You know, keep a relationship, make, keep the family happy in the whole nine yards. And so [00:28:00] you’re absolutely right.
[00:28:00] You’re absolutely a hundred percent right that it is a privilege to do it. And so the, any way that you can convene as artists, I. , even beyond our residents are important. You talked about, you talked about the internet, and the internet was different back in the day. I just feel like we’re saying back in the day, back in the day, I
[00:28:18] Mychaelyn Michalec: know it’s like, I’m not that old.
[00:28:19] We’re not that old. We’re not that old. Now. I feel like we’re talking like old people,
[00:28:23] Rodney Veal: I was like, come on. It’s okay. This is, this is the safe space for that. So, but, but I, but there is a, there is a difference. Do you think that the internet. and especially since in the light of Covid, I mean, we all, we all had the impact of Covid in our lives.
[00:28:38] Do you think that the internet really helped artists figure, maintain community? Because I felt like I found more artists, new artists that way.
[00:28:46] Mychaelyn Michalec: Yeah. I feel like that, and also the internet really has helped me become more successful because, I think back in the day, you really had to be part [00:29:00] of one of those major hubs if you really wanted to be considered successful on certain levels or to do certain things.
[00:29:08] There’s many ways to be an artist, and not everyone wants to have a show at the Whitney, but. , like if that is indeed your goal, like you’re never, were going to be able to do it by living in Dayton, Ohio, like pre-internet. So I do think like the internet has helped us be able to share work and to make connections and to reach places and galleries.
[00:29:36] I would’ve had no access to unless I physically lived in that location. And to me, like I feel like I’m really grateful that I can live in a place like Dayton that’s like affordable and so easy to live in, but then be able to show my work like in Denver or New York [00:30:00] or any of those places. . So, yeah, I, I do think even during Covid, like it was a way to keep in touch with other artists to see what they were doing.
[00:30:13] A lot of shows switched to online, but I still contend that. Online shows are basically just Instagram. Like I’m looking at an online show every day when I open Instagram, cuz I have nothing but artists in my feet. .
[00:30:29] Rodney Veal: Yeah, it’s so true. It’s like artists and dancers and so yeah, I mean, I, because that’s why I, I feel like I discovered.
[00:30:36] Other podcasts I discovered a podcast about art and art making and art bus, the business of art. Mm-hmm. . And so, I mean, in many ways it just kind of like, just strengthen like, oh, we know in many ways you kind of started that well, like in an analog way. I’m gonna go in a storefront in 2015. I mean, you really, let’s, let’s stop back.
[00:30:59] Let’s step [00:31:00] back and analyze it for a second. You, you did it in a storefront. Like, we don’t need, you don’t need the mechanisms that we think we need to be successful. Whenever we deem success to be as an art maker, you now can do it on your terms. Right? And. That’s where we’re at now. So it’s kinda like, right.
[00:31:22] It’s kind of cool. And it’s kinda like the wild old west. It’s like, woo, we could do anything. Right. So it’s just really cool. So I, cause I, cause I, so I have a question. You’re doing all this and then you, I, and I know you, you, because you’re really involved in the arts community here in the Dayton and, and elsewhere.
[00:31:39] J being involved in like jury open calls, like being on juries for art and art making, how that’s important. I mean, so talk about why that’s important to do as an, as an art maker.
[00:31:53] Mychaelyn Michalec: I don’t know. I always feel like there have been people in my life that other artists, I mean, [00:32:00] that have been super generous with their time and their advice or helping me out in one way or another.
[00:32:09] And I feel like, you know, you need to pay it forward in a way. So right now I have. Two assistants in my studio, like helping me make work. And I’m like, every day I am like, you know, how, what are your goals? Like how can I help them out? I had a studio visit from a museum curator and I was like, I’m having this visit.
[00:32:34] Would you like to be in the studio when this happens? because I feel like I didn’t really have anybody, I had to figure a lot of things out, especially after that big break and trying to figure out what my community was. And so the few people that have stepped up I’m really grateful for that. Advice or like, there’s been some people that have like passed my work to certain [00:33:00] galleries and.
[00:33:02] and I’ve been able to work with them because of that. Because a lot of times that’s how galleries get names of people that they work with is just from other artists. So yeah, I feel like being on a jury or. , you know, giving a presentation about grant making or talking to college students. I mean, these are all like things that I feel like important to just, you know, share my experience.
[00:33:35] And I’m not saying like I’m the got the best advice in the world, but I can share my experience and what I’ve done and what has been successful for me because I do think there is a bit of. I don’t know. Sometimes there’s too much competition, I think, in what we do and it, and there’s also a bit of mystery about it.
[00:33:58] And so to [00:34:00] me, like I’ve never been great with secrets and I just am willing to kind of share like what has worked for me and, you know, my advice and how I’ve, you know, done the things that I’ve. Like, there’s no mystery here. ,
[00:34:18] Rodney Veal: there’s no mystery. But, but that’s, I love, I love when you say there’s no mystery here because I think I think that’s, that’s been a common through line because I’ve talked to, I think this is, I want to say this is my seventh interview for the podcast, so that’s how new this is.
[00:34:33] Talking about stepping into new territory and newing. And there’s no mystery to this. You just, you build a plane as you go. There’s a through line, everybody has said at different walks of life. I’ve talked to Ron Rollins. I’ve talked to Amy Deal, Countess Winfrey, who’s a choreographer at dc DC and Joey Munda, who’s a a property producer.
[00:34:55] All of them have said the same thing about. Well, there’s no mystery to this. Share [00:35:00] what, you know, help others out. It just seems to be a thing. Do you think it’s more, it, and I, the common thread has been that everyone’s from the Midwest. Do you think it’s because of our environment that that just, just kinda lends itself far?
[00:35:13] Is it just naturally a thing that you’re en we’re inclined to do anyway?
[00:35:17] Mychaelyn Michalec: I do think that, yeah, I think, I do think Midwesterners are a lot more practical and not, excuse me, and not, you know, that mysterious . I, I don’t know. I feel like, I think you’re right, right?
[00:35:32] There’s not like this. About them where they’re too cool for school or anything like that. They’re like, we’re all in Ohio. We know. We know. And we’ve, we’ve accepted that we’ve accept
[00:35:44] Rodney Veal: our lives. Exactly. That the weather’s gonna change. You’re gonna have four seasons and less than 48 hours, right? Less.
[00:35:51] Right. That is winter again. Yes. So yeah, it’s a very, it’s a very common through line and we know that we were gonna try to. Just to let you know, we, we wanted to people [00:36:00] who have a connection to the Midwest and to the Miami Valley, so we’re reaching all these different ways and it’s kind of fun. I make, so that’s why I love the fact that it’s like that’s a universal, so if, cuz you talked about giving advice.
[00:36:14] Great. So now you have this platform, you get to give big career advice. Give, okay. Dun, dun dun. Give one piece of advice that you wish you had known. You know, you, you know that you learned something and it’s not necessarily because it’s a failure or, or, but there’s that thing you go, had I known this would’ve been different, what would it be?
[00:36:36] Your advice is someone in that way.
[00:36:38] Mychaelyn Michalec: Hmm. Well, I think for me, I don’t know what the advice would be. I feel like I’ve thrown so much at the wall and I’ve done a bit of everything. So I I think recently I, I learned that like, you really do need to have like a really, really strong body of [00:37:00] work before you approach a gallery.
[00:37:03] And you need to have like 30 really good pieces. because yeah, going to them with like five or 10 is not, and I think I probably did approach a bunch of places before I was kind of ready to, but I don’t know who’s to say when you’re ready and when you’re not ready. I don’t know. And who’s to say, like, if you only have 10 pieces that the gallery won’t take you?
[00:37:31] I don’t know. I just, I’ve, I say, I don’t know, try everything. And I, I feel like I said yes to everything when I first started. Everything you, you know, like, do, do you wanna hang your work in my restaurant? Yes. Do you want to like have a painting at. I don’t know in the background of my TV show. .
[00:37:57] Rodney Veal: Yes.
[00:37:58] Mychaelyn Michalec: And I was like, [00:38:00] yes, yes, yes.
[00:38:01] Yeah, that works. So at, at the beginning I said yes to everything. Right? And now I’m getting better at saying no to a lot of things. I’m like, no, I’m, I’m not. When I first started, I think it was applying to about 50 to 60 things every. So, which it gets expensive, but it’s time consuming, too. Time consuming.
[00:38:21] And but it was everything from shows to residencies to grants and stuff. And now I’m at a point where I’m a lot more selective about what I do apply to and not, but at the beginning it was great because people would be like, oh, you’ve gotten all these things. And I was like, I get two. But I had applied to 50 things, so and people were like, wow, you’re really, you’re really doing it
[00:38:45] Yeah. You don’t know the statistics on this, do you? But yeah, I don’t know. I, it’s hard to give advice because everybody has a different goal about what their dream, [00:39:00] about how they’re going to be an artist looks like. You know, again, like there are people that. , you know, are happy to make their paintings every Sunday and you know, maybe sell them once a month at a little open studio thing.
[00:39:17] And there are people that. want to like show internationally at the world’s best museums. And and so there’s just different ways to approach that. And I say try everything and evaluate what works for your goals and what you wanna do ultimately in the end. Cuz really that’s all that matters. Saying, and then once you say yes to everything and you know what you like, then it’s okay to start saying no a lot.
[00:39:46] Rodney Veal: I love it. Well, I’m grateful that you didn’t say no to us. So . So I’m very, very appreciative of that. So, I mean, it’s, it’s just such a joy. It’s like you’re, you’re full of life and energy and spirit about art making [00:40:00] and the life being in the life of an art maker.
[00:40:02] So thank you for sharing.