Artist Spotlight: Michael Stanley

I believe that art should be interactive.  Direct human contact between the participant and the artwork allows for a deeper connection to form, encouraging a feeling of community. I integrate playful incongruity in many of my pieces in order to promote humor, making it more accessible.  While my primary research is in Kinetic Sculpture, I use furniture design as a vehicle for human interaction.  This interface facilitates experimentation with structure, aesthetics, and the response to design in people’s daily lives.  

Much of my inspiration comes from the unfortunate events of Hurricane Katrina.  I use these personal memories to influence my artwork in a more idealistic and positive direction:  we can do more good working together than we can individually.  The aesthetics of my work come directly from industrial memories of my childhood and travels:  areas where the natural world and urban development meet, such as a bridge crossing the muddy waters of the Missouri River or the unseen beauty of overgrown abandoned brick warehouses.  The combination of human innovation with the unrelenting forces of nature has always captivated me, and I often incorporate that look of strength amidst decay in my artwork.  

Because I often incorporate found material in my work, there is usually some level of uncertainty about how the finished piece will look.  Although it can become frustrating, I find comfort in this lack of certainty because it allows me to become impulsive and make changes to the design as I see fit.  This artistic freedom, as well as the integration of ethical materials into my artwork, creates a deep sense of gratification and is what keeps me making art.