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  • Michelle Patterson

    on Mentorship, Self

    May 20, 2017 Interviews

    with the Artist in her Los Angeles home

    Bronx native but LA transplant, Michelle Patterson is a visual artist, interior decorator, and curator. Inspired by architecture, art, and design, Michelle creates an aesthetic of work to evoke emotion through visual presentation to express her connection through observe lines, shapes, forms, textures, and color in nature. She is currently partnering with organizations and programs to help empower and impact children in the greater Los Angeles communities of need, her goal is to create social change through art by securing a fun and healthy environment that encourages children to follow their dreams.

    By Ade Oluokun
    Photography by Claire Donoghue

    What were you looking for in LA and how has it empowered you on your quest to inspire others?

    I was inspired to leave New York City for quite some time, I honestly always dreamt of doing so. I felt LA was the perfect place for me to start a new chapter in my life and to build my career with Innovative Aesthetics. I wouldn’t say that this move was to inspire anyone…maybe it did. Moving to LA was to understand the value of life and discover a love of self.

    On Self

    What are three things you love about yourself?

    My creativity, my hunger to succeed, and the ability to adapt to my surroundings.

    Zoning in on the three attributes you love about yourself, what does or what would your best self look like?

    My best self creates positive change in the foster home community; a community that directly impacted my personal growth through my childhood challenges. A leader whose aim is to change the world’s perception through daring art, through beauty and introspect, and through natural curiosity. My best self is a woman whose message for myself and the world is to lead by example with confidence, fearlessness, and determination. She’s vulnerable enough to follow her heart and intuitive enough to follow her dreams.

    At what age did you discover your passion and purpose? How does that align with Innovative Aesthetics?

    I’ve always had a passion for art and design. I was very crafty growing up and I enjoyed following design trends whether it was in furniture design or technology. My true purpose is unfolding before me everyday. I’m inspired to teach our youth and help them gain the momentum to follow after their dreams.

    Though you post aesthetically creative images, what is your mode of creativity? Do you write, paint, illustrate, construct things, act, or draw?

    I don’t think there is a limit to the mode of my creativity because I can fairly do anything I put my mind to. I was very creative with my hands growing up and I focused on many different mediums of art. I sketched, painted and studied set design throughout my teenage years until I reached my first year of college. Within the last few years, I developed a hobby taking pictures and building an interest in photography. Photography allows me to express myself visually and show the world what beauty means from my perspective. I also enjoy writing now which helps influence my personal growth and the expansion of my crafts. I eventually want to pick up the brushes one day… I’ll allow that time to come naturally.

    What would be your advice to black women who are hesitant about pursuing their aspirations and dreams?

    My message to all black women is to strive to keep reaching our greatest potential. There is nothing we cannot be, there is nothing we cannot do and there is nothing we cannot have. The point of life is therefore to create - who and what we are. I was watching an empowerment speech from Oprah Winfrey at the Essence Festival last year and she spoke a lot about the “Laws of Attraction” and finding the intention of our purpose. It’s very important that us women understand our purpose and what we choose to do to change our society. We first have to allow ourselves to be the change and to trust that our change will create an impact in this world. I bring this up to say, it is important to understand that we are not invisible. God has a bigger dream for us. Surrender - when you’ve done all that you can do...surrender ALL.

    On Mentorship

    Having your mother as your idol as many Black girls do growing up, how has your mother’s experience shaped how you view the world?

    My mother definitely became more of an influence in my life as I got older. We didn’t have much of a relationship at all. My grandmother raised my older sister and I and gave us the best love and guidance she could. Because of my mother’s strong fight as a woman, she battled with breast cancer and a heavy drug addiction for many years. Witnessing her past has played a huge part in my life and it helped me to love myself more. I chose to take those difficult events in my life and use them as references to mold my inner being.

    If you could have a conversation with anyone in the creative field, alive or deceased, who would it be? What would the conversation entail?

    I’m a very talkative person so there would be a few people I would love to have a conversation with. I was very honored to chat with Tracee Ellis Ross a few weeks ago and though it wasn't about anything too important we did speak about how amazing her outfit was. I’ve always been inspired by her artistry and her ability to inspire young black woman all around the world. I love what she does for our society. Marina Ambravic is another woman I would love to meet and converse with. She is a true visionary and pioneer of performance arts. I would love to get more into her mind and understand her journey in exploring the human body and what it means to be a woman in it.

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    Disconnecting to Reconnect

    The Black Girl Magik collective supports each member in her healing journeys through our annual self-care break. During this time we disconnect from social media to the capacity our programming allows, the internet and other distractions to further reconnect with ourselves. Additionally, we take this time to re-engage with the mission of the collective and to return the root of what it means to organize and build collectively. We are now considering what this self-care break can look like when we invite transparency into our restoration process, and engage our community through physical programming.

    The main goal of our residency with Powrplnt is to provide resources for women of color to engage in restoration and healing and to define self-care on their terms. We aim to: 1) conjure the capacity to center the resilience of women of color; 2) provide resources for women of color to engage in restoration and healing with us, and to define self-care on their terms; 3) host programming, open studios and discussions for and with the community.

    Healing is a journey and we are honoring this journey as a collective by disconnecting from social media, the internet and other distractions to further reconnect with ourselves. We invite you to join us and can’t wait to share how you can meet us IRL.

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