Artist-in-Residence Blog | Hawaii's First Coworking Space
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Artist-in-Residence Blog

Artist-in-Residence Blog


Artist residencies come in many forms, including short/long, formal/informal, near/far.  While I didn’t think I’d explore this form of professional development with a young family, my family (and the village it takes to raise a family) has been incredibly supportive of my endeavors, whether near or far.   During this, my fifth artist residency, one of the first things I’ve learned is that programs don’t need to take you to far corners of the earth for the experience to be enriching.

I was delighted to learn of this BoxJelly program when Amelia Samari was the inaugural resident artist.  The setting, the flexibility, and the amenities were all appealing and I was itching to apply, but I knew I couldn’t until a few other things were sorted out in my calendar.  At that time I was still waiting to see if my friend/dive buddy/collaborator Kirsten Carlson and I would be going Antarctica to participate in a distant art program… Fast-forward to today and we’re back from Antarctica and here I am at BoxJelly, making works inspired by that experience! 


Even though the BoxJelly is very close to my home and I’ve been visiting fishcake for most of its decade of operation, the setting and scenario are proving to be just what I need at this moment.  Many of the people who make up the Box Jelly and fishcake ‘ohana are familiar to me, yet through this experience I am getting to know them in meaningful new ways, deepening the community connections.  The workspace is a venue I saw my predecessors customizing for their needs and now it is similarly accommodating mine.


My art background is inextricably linked to science.  As a college student in the early ‘90s with a full schedule of science coursework, I did drawings as a way to learn the various anatomies of my subjects.  The drawings caught the attention of a professor who hired me as a science illustrator in his research lab, thus beginning my SciArt career. Since then I’ve illustrated lots of life forms in a range of media.  

After becoming a parent I realized the need to find a more family-friendly art medium, and fiber fit the requirements, launching my explorations in 3D.  Wool, wire, and paper are now my primary materials and I am exploring new means of expression through them. Building on the works I exhibited in the 2017 Honolulu Biennial, I’m looking forward to seeing what manifests here.

– Michelle

Learn more about Michelle’s work HERE

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