Michelle de la Vega is a multidisciplinary social engagement artist, designer and welder based in Seattle, WA.
VISUAL ART AND PERFORMANCE
I approach art making with a composite of relationship building, conceptual practice, thoughtful design, and craft. I’m a multidisciplinary installation artist using methods of social engagement as primary motivators in my process.
My practice includes sculpture, immersive environmental design, video, collage, choreography, text, and partnership building through project based community engagement.
My large-scale ventures endeavor to push social and aesthetic boundaries through the instigation of dialogues, practicing conceptually driven materiality, and community investment on a wide scale. My social engagement model deeply integrates community groups into the generative processes and exhibitions of my cross-disciplinary installations.
I recently created a site-specific installation at Gallery 4Culture that was largely about the distant relationship between the art and homeless communities in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. My current project takes a look at the commodification of women and the ways this is experienced and expressed in our everyday lives and culture. For these socially focused projects I partner with related organizations and populations through a multidisciplinary workshop curriculum, and through varied project driven public engagement initiatives. The distinctiveness of each project engenders unique exploration into social engagement, materiality and site-specific design ideas, germinating new approaches to communication and community partnership on the ground and through social technologies. It is essential to me to pursue each project as a leaner by practicing open artistic response to the diversity content generated through each interaction.
The aesthetic voice of my work has developed over a 25-year artistic practice and two art careers that have informed one other conceptually and compositionally: One in dance and performance, and the other in visual art.
I believe that one of the most dynamic and integral things art and artists are uniquely equipped to do is to shift contexts and reframe the world around us. My desire is to continue to explore the multitudes of possibilities this process can afford in my lifetime.
I received my education and training from Otis Parsons in Los Angeles, CA (visual art), Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA (dance) and the South Seattle Community College Welding and Metal Fabrication Program.
Michelle’s design aesthetic has a contemporary, elemental and industrial sensibility that reflects a vision of economy, functionality and artistic precision. Her instincts combine clean modernism with relaxed tranquility and comfort.
In 2010 a 250 sq. ft. Mini House Michelle designed, built and lives in were the subject of a 3 page feature article on the cover of the New York Times Home and Garden section. She and the house have also been featured in MORE Magazine, Scoops Homes and Art in Western Australia, and the noteworthy Houzz and Inhabitat design blogs among others. Michelle designed the building and sourced, fabricated and assembled all of the custom built and salvaged fixtures and furniture featured in the interior. She has since completed two additional remodel projects: a 2 bedroom bungalow and a 1959 mind century home. Her newest project is the remodel of a vintage 18 ft. Silver Streak “Jet” trailer using the same functional, rustic and clean aesthetic that is her signature.
Michelle’s Mini House is now featured in renown London designer Terrence Conran’s book“How to Live in Small Spaces” , released in October 2012. Three of Michelle’s house design projects are also featured in Joan Palmisano’s new design book, “Salvage Secrets, Design and Decor”. She has also been featured on the HGTV series “Home Strange Home” hosted by comedian, actor and TV personality Chuck Nice , and is featured in the pilot season of Tiny House Nation airing in August 2014. To watch the segment on Tiny House Nation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj8pbtcsNns
As a welder Michelle makes sculpture, and designs and fabricates custom steel furniture and architectural elements. She works from her studio and welding shop in South Seattle. For inquiries on custom furniture please use the contact page.
MENTORING AND CONSULTING
As a creative mentor Michele’s forte is to assist people in accessing and articulating personally authentic imagery through a process of dialogue, writing, reading, drawing, movement, collage and sculpture. She uses these creative techniques and intuitive insight to take mentees into a non linear artistic process, cultivating an experience of seeing the world through a different lens. Trusting one’s instincts and inner voice, developing conceptual thinking in visual terms, and tangible art making skills are the results. These are tools that can be used to bring artistry and original ingenuity into work environments, relationships, domestic environments and artistic practices, fostering inspiration and a deep satisfaction through manifesting stories and thought processes in artistically palpable ways.
As a design consultant for Mini Houses and simple living, Michelle’s goal is to assist people in leveraging their assets and resources by achieving strategic designs that are creatively sourced and functionally and aesthetically fulfilling. Michelle helps clients to determine their goals for their Mini Houses, guides them through design choices, materials sourcing and
building processes, and helps them envision and manifest simpler living by understanding what is fundamental in their lives. Her greatest asset as a consultant is her ability to distill and understand what is essential in the realms of values, function and aesthetics.