Interview with Immortality and Vulnerability Artist Michelle Doll

Michelle Doll’s paintings capture quiet, intimate moments hinged on personal connections between her subjects, as well as their interactions with the world around them. Doll’s recent works are imbued with femininity and introspection, and explore the themes of love, desire and connection. She earned her BFA from Kent State University and MFA from New York Academy of Art where she graduated Cum Laude on both. Her work has been exhibited and featured worldwide at galleries from New York to St. Barth’s to San Francisco to Basel and London. She is represented by Lyons Wier Gallery in New York, and currently lives and works in Hoboken, NJ.

Michelle Doll’s paintings capture quiet, intimate moments hinged on personal connections between her subjects, as well as their interactions with the world around them. Doll’s recent works are imbued with femininity and introspection, and explore the themes of love, desire and connection. She earned her BFA from Kent State University and MFA from New York Academy of Art where she graduated Cum Laude on both. Her work has been exhibited and featured worldwide at galleries from New York to St. Barth’s to San Francisco to Basel and London. She is represented by Lyons Wier Gallery in New York, and currently lives and works in Hoboken, NJ.

Michelle your current body of work is reflective of loving relations using figurative works. How do you bring emotion onto a canvas?

I’m mostly interested in the intimate connections between people and the varied emotions that may be felt during those moments. There’s an inherent vulnerability that I experience while painting intimate interactions, and it comes through the painting process. I allow myself to feel the beauty and weight of it all… so, I may experience feelings of love and connection while at other times I may feel fear or loss. It’s all very transitory… moments in time.  When I start a painting, I imagine the contact and connection… how does this feel and what is the importance of this? I usually focus on the inner emotional dialogue and physical sensation of certain area in the painting while allowing other areas to "fall away" or not fully rendering it... similar to the way an intimate moment is experienced.

Do you have any plans of deviating from this process and theme or do you feel you've found a style which differentiates you from other artists? How important is this to you?

I’m not sure I’ve found a definitive “style” and feel somewhat wary of that... I’m always experimenting with paint, surfaces, materials, etc…  and I approach each painting or series with a new process, concept and/ or plan. My theme has always centered on intimacy and the work has evolved and expanded around that core subject. Currently I’m focused on what I desire in life, which is love and connection. I have plans for the next few series of works based around this idea and I’m excited about the possibilities…  and I always hope to push my paintings in unexpected ways.

What is your vulnerability?

Answering that question feels vulnerable!  I'm a very private person, so while making art about intimacy feels natural and honest, putting the work in the public realm feels vulnerable and revealing. Every time I share my work or talk about it, it evokes feelings of vulnerability. I continually push outside of my comfort zones and try to embrace my fear in order to feel whole hearted, artistically express myself and live my life fully. 

What do you do for fun?

I have fun doing simple things such as spending time with friends and family, dining out, going to openings, museums and art events. I enjoy my daily walks, which is a time for me to be present with nature and human interactions. I also love cooking, great conversations, listening to my son play music... My life is busy, so I try to find appreciation and fun in the small, everyday things in life. 

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