City Arts Magazine 2017 Artist of the Year

Out of Sight 2017 Seattle: The Sugar Project “Evidence Cake” Gets Feature Image

Amanda Manitach, City Arts Magazine

The Sugar Project Installation: “People flocked to see it.”

Saccharine and Sexism: City Arts Magazine Critical Review, Margo Vansynghel

With The Sugar Project, de la Vega reclaims labels that’ve been defined by men for too long.

With the shocking subjects of her cold minimalism, de la Vega, a female artist of color, reminds us how much of art and art history is framed by the white male narrative.

Viewing the work at Bridge, many of the pieces at Oxbow take on new meaning, fall into place like puzzle pieces. Untangling the recurring imagery in The Sugar Project requires time and return visits. It’s hard to see, but impossible to look away from.

City Arts Magazine Title Page: The Sugar Project

Michelle de la Vega’s work is a study of complex human relationships. Leveraging striking imagery and installations swarming with text, her multimedia Sugar Project tackles the commercial idealization of women.

The Sugar Project uses the medium and metaphor of sugar to explore how we express and experience the commodification of women in our culture,” she says. “In addition to its feminine beauty, this image has a painful feel, a slightly violent undertone. Her mouth cannot function properly to speak, to eat, to breathe, with all that sugar on it.”

The Sugar Project is on view in Georgetown at both Bridge Productions and Oxbow through April 29.

How Seattle Artists Are Responding to the Endless Nightmare That Is This Election Season – Featuring Michelle de la Vega’s The Sugar Project

Jen Graves for The Stranger:

(The Trump Tape): It was as if the presidential election had reached a hand into de la Vega’s studio and shaken it awake. Suddenly, what everybody else wanted to talk about was the same subject de la Vega had felt silenced about—women’s silence itself.

What made me want to go out and talk to de la Vega right that day was that she was rare in representing both ends of the emotional spectrum…she felt both “brutalized” and “emboldened,” full of “despair” and “inspiration.”

Visiting her, I found the reasons for her ambivalence hopeful. She is still making art, and making it in the storm’s eye. For female artists this election season, the personal is political even more than usual.

In other words, in this open season for sexism and racism at the highest level of national politics, this woman of color has found a way to make art vulnerably yet boldly.

Joy and Sadness— Michelle de la Vega’s SUCCESSION: The Exchange Project

Gayle Tice for Artist Trust:

Jen Graves for The Stranger: Don’t miss Michelle de la Vega’s SUCCESSION at Gallery4Culture.

There are two Pioneer Squares: One is art galleries, the other is people living on the streets right outside the galleries. Michelle de la Vega brings them into contact—people from both camps actually touching each other’s bodies—in a video that’s at the heart of her exhibition of sculptures and installations called SUCCESSION: The Exchange Project. Through simple, abstract choreography and the basic power of skin on skin and sustained eye contact, de la Vega manages to create and capture touching momentary connections between people. The show feels like it’s about much more than an “issue” called “homelessness.” JEN GRAVES

These Artists Podcast

Interviewed by Jeff Bettger about creative process and the SUCCESSION project.

King County 4Culture Guest Blog Post:

Integrating Pioneer Square’s Communities with Michelle de la Vega: Sept. 2015


CoCA Gallery Artist Video Profile


Lest We Forget our Plexus

November 2014: Review of Plexus, visual and sound installation project in collaboration with composer Jovino Santos Neto.

“I saw the exhibit before I had stepped foot inside of CoCA through the glass windows.  I remember feeling an immediate sense of play and wonder when I saw the sculptures of steel and fishing nets.”

“Plex-us is a lovely combination of the visible and invisible connection we encounter in our environments.  Social networks and the internet are great but that face to face connection is what feeds our souls.”


Tiny House Nation

2014: Mini House will be featured in the pilot season of Tiny House Nation, on FYI Network.

Air Dates: August 20, 2014 10ET, 11PT, August 25 and Sept 1, 2014 at 9pm.


Watch the Tiny House Nation segment here: Italy:


Grist: Female steel artist teams up with female choreographer to create “hyper-masculine” art…

October 2012
Seattle Dances by Mariko Nagashima
Against the Grain / Men in Dance Concert

Deb Wolf’s hyper-masculine piece (Crash of Days) was quite opposite in tone (than Jason Ohlberg’s tender duet). Two sculptures (by Seattle artist Michelle de la Vega) made of jumbled strips of metal bent at right angles, a macroscopic version of steel wool, hung above the stage. The movement and music were both reflective of the sculpture, filled with clanking metal noises and sharp angular motions. Both welders and pieces of metal themselves, the five men aggressively bit into the choreography, molding their bodies with defiance.


Upcoming Mini House Events:

Michelle and the Mini House will be featured on the HGTV series “Home Strange Home” hosted by comedian, actor and TV personality Chuck Nice.

Thurs, Oct 31, 2013 at 1:00 pm est/12:00 pm cst.

The Mini House is now featured in renown London designer Terrence Conran’s book How to Live in Small Spaces.

October 2012 release date

Salvage Secrets, Design and Decor, by  Jane Palmisano. Three of Michelle’s design projects, including the Mini House will be featured. Release Date: May 2014 Salvage Secrets Design and Decor
June, 2012

Mini House Feature

Michelle de la Vega Makes Tiny Living Accessible to Everyone

When Michelle de la Vega converted a dusty old garage into a darling Mini House, she had no idea that people all over the world would end up begging her to send them floor plans of her new home. But that is what happened, so as of July this year, the artist will sell as-built digital plans of her 250 square foot green renovation project in Washington. Michelle purchased a new home but knew she would need help meeting the mortgage payment, so she opted to rent out the main house and convert the outdoor garage into a tiny home that she now lives in.


April, 2012

Mini House Feature

Houzz Tour: Industrial Minihouse in Seattle

An artist transforms a garage into an efficient, open home in 250 square feet in Washington state

Michelle de la Vega’s friends call her an “ant person” — a fitting description for a woman who can carry a heavy load despite her petite stature. “The biggest challenge by far with the mini house was being a single woman who at the time knew nothing about building,” she says.

FULL ARTICLE:–Industrial-Minihouse-in-Seattle

Scoop Homes and Art Magazine, Western Australia

Summer, 2011

Feature article about the Mini house in the Western Australia home and art magazine. Written by Emma Wheeler


When Michelle de la Vega bought this Seattle home, the rickety garage was not it’s best feature. But for mIchelle it presented a rare opportunity: to rent out the main house and turn the garage into her home, securing both an income stream and a place to live. The agent thought she was mad, but to the artist, designer and welder it was a way to turn a vision into reality.

FULL ARTICLE on Page 162:

MORE Magazine

October, 2010

The Mini House gets the front spread in a feature article about living in small spaces written by Dominique Browning, the former Editor in Chief of House and Garden Magazine and author of Slow Love. The photos were taken by David Meredith who includes shooting the housewares for Anthropologie’s catalog among his notable engagements.


Living Your Dream – In About 1,000 Square Feet or Less
After a divorce, Michelle de la Vega, a Seattle artist, bought a house, rented it out and moved into its freestanding garage, which she renovated and turned into her dream home. The size of the place – 250 square feet – suits her perfectly…”I love the freedom of not having a lot of things, of realizing that you don’t really need so much…There’s an emotional reality that comes with all the physical stuff.”

“My house is like an art installation, so that people who visit feel like they are walking into a part of me. It is very personal. Artists generally have an impulse to make a mark on their surroundings. It’s a way of life.”

Her Mother’s Daughter: “My mother has been an amazing female role model for living authentically through passion and conviction. She is also one of my best friends. Because of her, I have no idea what an ambivalent, passive or boring life feels like.”

Her Father’s Daughter: “My father was my confidant through the entire building process. He used to make elaborate architectural drawings of his dream houses. And then he helped me create my dream house.”


New York Times

March 2010, written by Andrea Codrington


SITTING on the couch in her 250-square-foot house — a garage she has transformed into her version of a dream home — Michelle de la Vega, a visual and performance artist, held a pillow in her arms. Three more pillows hung in shadowboxes on the wall above her, and a few hundred more, she said, were in an art studio nearby, part of an installation called “Dream House,” a tribute to her father.




Jane Hodges on April 22, 2010

“In a city where real estate values have stretched beyond reach for many creative and lower-income workers, it’s easy to forget that people do get creative with how they choose to live and sometimes even use real estate as a means to subsidizing a creative end, rather than an end unto itself. De la Vega, a Cornish College grad who is a visual artist and dancer, as well as welder, used her home as a rental for a time while living in the cottage.

While extensive remodels aren’t for everyone, de la Vega and others who put their all into it are inspirations to anyone mulling whether they can wedge more space onto their lots courtesy of local backyard cottage legislation. Maybe a new spouse, welding lessons, and a bunch of reclaimed stuff won’t fit into the picture, as was the case for de la Vega, but damn that little house is cute.”


Seattle Weekly

September 2009

“Affixed to a wall, the 300 delicate white pillows crafted by Seattle artist Michelle de la Vega for her Dream House installation defy obvious utility. They look too fragile for your couch. And forget about pillow fights. On closer inspection, they’re made of old architectural blueprints for residential designs long faded. They’re not the trendy new domiciles of Dwell or avant anything—mostly large suburban homes with yawning garages. The difference in scale between the diminutive pillows and cul de sac behemoths gives Dream House part of its poignant mystery: These headrests suggest obsolete dreams, the visions of the past. And indeed, per the artist’s statement, they are—the handiwork of her father, now in his 80s, who wasn’t an architect but obsessively sketched these designs. None of them were built. And today, their paper walls only enclose the air.” BRIAN MILLER

The Boston Globe

September 2009

“Michelle de la Vega illustrates a never-realized American dream by encasing her father’s house blueprints with sewn paper pillows.”










Comments (2)

2 Responses to “Media/Press”

  1. Kathy Bakke says:

    This woman is my new heroine. Love her style and innovation. So cool. Adore the whole thing.

  2. Bart says:

    Good. Very good

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