Born in South Dakota, Michel Keck was primarily raised in NWI. Throughout her art career, Michel has spent her time creating and living in various rural areas throughout both Indiana and South Dakota. Michel is a free spirited, self-taught artist who works in a wide array of mediums; painting, collage, drawings and found object/assemblage art. Inspired by nature, scripture, and personal life experiences, her works have a raw and childlike quality that reward the focus of new as well as seasoned collectors.
Keck’s original abstract art paintings and mixed media assemblages have been exhibited in London, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Indianapolis, High Point, Pittsburgh, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas and Hong Kong. Her works hang in the private and corporate collections of art collectors, actors, professional athletes, restauranteurs, and have been seen on both television and the big screen.
Since the time I was a very small child I just considered myself an artist. Where focus goes, energy flows. I have painted, drawn and created from as early of an age as I can remember. Making art has just always been a huge part of my life. As a child and young adult making art was always a true escape for me. Art was always a very cathartic way to get away from any troubles or worries that bothered me.
I am a self-taught artist. I did not go to art school. I did not study art. I do not hang out in art circles. I know little to nothing about art history or 'famous' artists, and to be honest I have always felt like quite the outsider within the conventional art world. The art scene is not the place where you will find me as I feel extremely out of place and very uncomfortable there.
I'm often asked what inspires me to create and I feel I am most inspired by emotion, words, and humor. Whatever emotions are running through me at the time I am creating, really fuels my abstract paintings. I do love to listen to music while I create, so it is often the songs I am listening to and the words of the lyrics that bring out emotions in my that fuel my inspiration. There are also works, such as my Beer Can Rat sculptures for example, that are humor inspired. I really hate that the rat is always used as a negative symbol because they domesticated rats are really loving and intelligent creatures. You always see that rats being used by unions at protest sites so I found it funny to do a line of rats that were doing their own picketing. I started creating scripture paintings in 2003. Two decades later I still feel very compelled to included scripture in my art through different means. The words of scripture, just like the words of a song lyric, can be so very powerful. I'm intriqued by the power of the word and that too is something that inspires the creation of my art.
My star sign is an Aries and I am an Aries through and through. As an Aries I am easily bored. One peek into my portfolio or studio and you will see that I work in a wide variety of mediums. I can often have several different projects in different mediums being worked on at once. I crave and love change. I love to paint, draw, collage, create found object assemblages and most recently make sculptures to combine with the found objects.
My joy and comfort comes to me at my studio in the country, either alone or with my hubby, surrounded by my animals, and just making art. That is where I find my peace, joy and comfort. That is where my art is made. That is where I feel at home.
MORE THAN YOU NEED TO KNOW....
While I've been working as a full-time, professional artist since 2003, I have believed I was an 'artist' since as early as I can remember. That's not just a load of shit you write down because you think it sounds good in your 'artist statement', it is just fact. My grandmother on my father's side was an incredible artist who worked in charcoals and graphite and some of my fondest earliest memories of creating art was going into her sunken living room in South Dakota, opening the drawer of her coffee table pulling out those charcoal and graphite sticks and making art. I was blessed with parents that recognized that I was very drawn to creating and the always had me supplied with every art supply you could imagine. I also remember vividly that as a child my mother allowed me to color and draw on the walls inside my closet without any worry of getting into trouble for marking up the walls.
Art was always an escape for me as a child. My home was not always a peaceful one. When I was younger there was often a lot of arguing and screaming taking place around me and art was how I got away from all of it. I started making art and tuned everything else out.
As a young adult art art was also a refuge for me. In my 20's I started taking the birth control injections, depo-provera. Immediately I fell ill, and questioned the doctor if the symptoms I was having could be caused by the depo. I was reassured it was not and I was lied to, but being young and naive I trusted the 'doctor'. Unbeknownst to me the years of serious health issues that I would end up facing were a direct result of not only the injections themselves but the fact that I was given too high of dosage each time I received them. In dealing with the severe muscle pain, blinding migraines, hair loss and immense weight gain I turned to art once again. I found myself drawing, quite obsessively, circles over and over and over and creating drawings out of them. As bizarre as it sounds it was the way I coped best with the migraines I was experiencing.
Eventually I was blessed with finding an amazing chiropractor and nutritionist who explained to me the poisoning my body had went through from the shots and years of rx drugs to try and counteract the pain caused from the shots and I was turned onto a raw food diet, and natural life practices. Through the raw food diet, fasting and other natural alternative healing methods I completely reversed all of the health issues, including the waste-basket, Fibromyalgia diagonosis I had been given.
Through speaking out about my health issues and the reversal of my health issues online, on a free website I had created to help provide information to other women who may have found themselves in the same position, I met with the most wonderful woman and fellow artist, Sarah Kiser. It was at the advice and urging of Sarah that I joined her online, and began selling my art on eBay in 2003. Since that time I've listing my art for sale on eBay I have never looked back. I have been working as a full-time, self-promoted artist ever since and I am thankful and grateful to her every day for that suggestion.
Quite quickly, I accomplished unheard of achievements for a self-taught and self-representing artist at that time. I reached what was called “Platinum Powerseller” status on eBay in a relatively short time. To reach the rank of Platinum Powerseller, you had to be selling $25,000.00 a month consistently, and I was doing just that. My best month in art sales on eBay was $42k.
The time between 2003 to 2006 is when I created the most prolifically. Everything then was so erratic and frenzied, and it was nothing for me to paint and sell two to three pieces of art each and every day, 7 days a week.
The way artists were marketing their art on eBay back in those years, from artist direct to the collector, was considered unconventional and actually really frowned upon by the majority of the traditional art world at that time. Frankly, the reality was some gallery owners were just pissed that the artists had found away to buck the system and eliminate the middleman.
eBay back in the day wasn't much different than social media world of facebook, instagram and tiktok today. The only major difference is back then you were shunned by the art community if you were successfully selling on eBay and today if you are successfully marketing on social media the art world loves you. It's ironic and it makes me laugh.
In three years since my start on ebay, at the end of 2006, I had sold over 1,500 of my original paintings to art collectors throughout the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Russia, Netherlands, Ireland, Chile, France, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Greece, Norway, Malta, Puerto Rico and the United Arab Emirates. It was an amazing feeling to be in charge of my art career. I had been approached during that time by a prominent art gallery owner that asked to represent me. There was only one condition, that was for me to remove my art from eBay and to remove the sales of my art from my website. At that time I had just started selling my own line of fine art prints as I had purchased all of the equipment to professionally photograph my works and all of the equipment to produce my own fine art giclee prints. I told him that I would consider his offer if he would guarantee me at least the income I was earning each year selling my art. He laughed, told me it didn't work that way. I laughed as well and told him I'd be just fine without him. I was.
During the years of 2007-2008 I attended many art expos and art fairs around the U.S. I was very pleased to receive a very warm welcome from art collectors at all of the shows. I had many shows that I sold almost every original piece I had brought with me. There was only one art show, It was Art Expo Vegas, the first one they had ever had there, that was just not a good show. Every artist there I knew said it was the worst art show they had ever attended. In all fairness I think it was just because it was their first year of doing a show there and the collector base just wasn't there. Other than that I succeeded beyond my wildest expectations at the art expos/fairs. I made really great money at them but I hated every single second of them. My ex-husband, bless his soul, was very good at schmoozing, mingling and selling art. I hated it. I felt very uncomfortable and out of place at every art expo/fair I ever attended. I still do to this very day. Talking about my art is extremely difficult for me. The art scene is just not a place that I feel I fit in, I feel very much like an outsider there.
If I am not in my studio making something I am out in nature with my hubby and my furbabies. There too, I am at peace and find joy.
I have been truly blessed over the years to work on a substantial number of custom, corporate art projects including commissioned pieces for; medical offices / hospitals, law firms, veterinarian offices, colleges, restaurants, movie theatres, department stores, television, motion pictures and more. Some of my corporate art projects include working with many of Nordstrom's Department stores across the U.S. to create original mixed media pieces for their Savvy Departments. I have supplied my art to many restauranteurs around the world with my original artworks and fine art prints going to such places as; Bar Louie, Wampango, Wuff, and Bean & Hop. Actress Sigourney Weaver requested that my pug collage be used as set décor in her 2015 movie Chappie. I have also provided artwork for other major motion pictures as well including the Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks. My artwork has also appeared on television programs such as the hit show HGTV hit House Hunters and also seen in the hit FX animated television series Archer (in seasons 1 through 5).
To date, my original paintings, mixed media artworks and fine art giclee prints hang in both private and corporate art collections in over 40+ countries around the world. My originals and fine art giclee prints hang proudly in private art collections of both the first time art buyer to the well-seasoned art collector. One of my original paintings is included in the personal art collection of esteemed, billionaire art collector Chinh E. Chu.