MICHAEL CARINI / SELECTED ARTWORK / BIOGRAPHY / ARTIST STATEMENT / INTERVIEW / PAST EXHIBITIONS
Michael Carini Interview
La Playa Gallery: Hi! Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Can you tell us your name, where you live and a little bit about your past?
Michael Carini: My name is Michael Carini, also known as the Acrylic Alchemist. I grew up in San Diego, left for college, and returned to help cultivate a growing art scene. I attended Loyola Marymount University, where I apprenticed under Jane Brucker and Roland Reiss. I graduated magna cum laude at the top of my department, earned numerous scholarships and awards, and was the Scholar of Distinction for Painting. My Illustration teacher, Carm Goode, was the creator of the characters for Otter Pops. I’m an active studio artist that enjoys engaging my audience, often teaching and lecturing about art practice and the business of art. These are things I am looking to do on more of a full-time basis in the future. In 2017, Art Design Consultants named me emerging artist of the year.
LPG: Wow! Sounds like you have been busy. Can you give us a brief overview of the work you create?
MC: I call my process Acrylic Alchemy and it is fundamentally based on utilizing struggle as a sacrifice of equivalent exchange to create something positive and beautiful for the world. I have a broad repertoire of work that is constantly growing. I let nothing go to waste and have an entire series created from the recycled remnants of my palettes (Beautiful Accidents). I have a five-year meditation project (Reign Upon Sonrise) inspired by my father’s suicide, of which one of the pieces is the suicide note I painted for him because he never left one. I have a nine-canvas polyptych (Regenaissance) based on fractals, the Golden Ratio, and a Rubik’s Cube that has 95,126,814,720 orientations. I have a series inspired by a 2009 assault and battery that hospitalized me with multiple facial fractures and a concussion that led to the manifestation of my Carini signature icon (The Up-Side of Down). I have also developed my own technique which primarily applies to two bodies of work that are a reaction to and deviation from my earlier hard-edged work (The Boy In The Box and Faces of the Parabox).
The Carini Technique-As every story has a past, present, and future, what may at first glimpse appear to be non-objective abstraction is in fact segmentations of energetic imagery interacting through the boundlessness of space and time.
LPG: I’m so sorry to hear about your father and your assault. But it’s great that you have been able to take those experiences and use them for your creative outlet. How and when did you get started?
MC: I’ve always been creating in one form or another. For as long as I can remember, it has been the only way I’ve ever really been able to effectively communicate and express myself, both to myself and to the world. I wouldn’t say that I chose this life so much as it chose me. I just made the conscious decision not to fight who I know I really am. The sooner we just get started, the sooner we can get where we need to go. On this journey, who I am is constantly changing as I grow, both as an artist and a person. I’m always just getting started in one way or another and I believe that’s what keeps me not only relevant, but it’s what keeps me going.
LPG: What motivates you to create new work?
MC: The desire to grow and not be stagnant. It’s so easy to be one and done, but I have so much in me and I want to explore that to the very limits. The motivation to create new work is always there. I’m motivated by the desire to continually pull more out of myself and do what nobody would ever believe I could possibly do. I know I can do more. I can always do more. When you combine passion with drive and dedication, there are no limits. I find that I am more hindered by lack of resources, though that also has an advantage in the sense of the creative explosions that can and do consequentially result. Everything in life is simply a matter of perspective.
LPG: I understand lack of resources. Art can sometimes be a very expensive passion to pursue. Is there a specific series you are currently creating and what is the inspiration behind it?
MC: I’m getting back to my Boy In The Box series right now and exploring new concepts. I’m really focusing on learning to let go after what has been several years of continual trials and tribulations. I feel like I still have some of my best work ahead of me and I’m excited to see what comes of it. I generally cycle back and forth between several bodies of work, continuously trying to fill in the gaps and balance my repertoire.
LPG: What is the most indispensable item in your studio?
MC: The passionate artist. Without the passionate artist, there is nothing. The passionate artist can create beauty out of what seems to be nothing. I have before and I will undoubtedly do so again.
LPG: That is very positive thinking and I’m sure your words will inspire other artists. Do you have a routine you follow for creating or only work when inspiration hits?
MC: I have routines in the sense that I have developed practices and rituals that form my base. I use that as a platform and implement a strong work ethic to simply start creating. I will never need to wait for inspiration because if I’m doing the things I should be doing, the inspiration falls into place. I have no shortage of ideas…only resources. There again, my creativity comes into play in terms of discovering creative solutions for that lack of resources. In struggle and hardship lies the potential for great beauty and opportunity. This is the basis of Acrylic Alchemy.
LPG: Do you collect anything and does it influence your work?
MC: I collect absolutely nothing by the necessity of space required for more art. Seriously, I’m trying to get rid of stuff to make room. The desire to have less to create more is a great influence in my life.
LPG: Yeah, spring cleaning all year round... What artist or artists have influenced you the most?
MC: I always hesitate to answer this question because I draw from such an extensive art historical knowledge as my basis, and all contributions to that history have great significance so I try not to single out. Art also transcends the palette with so many diverse mediums, particularly in contemporary culture. I would have to say that some of my favorite historical artists for Fine Art are van Gogh and Basquiat, as much for the lives they led as the work they created. Being an artist is very much an experience. Your art is your life and your life is your art.
LPG: It is indeed, so hard to narrow it down with so many great creative minds that have come before us. Locally, what artist excites you the most?
MC: There are so many great artists here locally and I would feel terrible to mention just a handful and leave out so many. I’m just really excited about our art scene in general and all of the work I see coming to light. Where our art scene was 10 years ago versus where it is today is just night and day. I think that the quality of art in conjunction with the number of talented rising artists is just going to raise the game for everyone. I’m excited to be a part of that and I hope I can raise the game for some of my contemporaries and future artists, both locally and universally.
LPG: It’s true. The San Diego art scene has definitely improved tremendously in the last 10 years. I’m happy you are a part of it and thank you for letting us into your creative world. It's been a pleasure and we are really looking forward to featuring your work at La Playa Gallery!
MC: Thank you for the incredible opportunity. It’s exciting to get back to working with galleries and to have my first exhibition with a gallery in La Jolla. I think that the relationship between galleries and artists is becoming a lost art in and of itself and I’m happy to keep a piece of that history alive. Balanced reciprocity and the gallery/artist relationship is one that can really help all parties thrive for the betterment of the art community and culture as a whole. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share my vision and passion with the community!