Michelle Dakan

I want my paintings to speak for themselves. I look for a certain power and simplicity in my work, images that work at a gut level which also invite a wry, humorous look at life. I like to challenge bland emotions and poke fun at sacred cows.The roots of my work are in expressionism; my influences are from everywhere: a childhood in West Africa, French political posters of May 1968, Topolski’s sketchbooks, Munakata’s woodcuts. I also admire Chinese brush painting with its object of capturing a single Zen moment in a few simple brush strokes.My themes are grounded in everyday life, in my experience of life as a woman. As an artist I like to work within the traditions of art and history, at the same time to play with its icons and stretch its boundaries. My subjects are landscapes and people, animals and flowers, dancers and musicians, a celebration of life.Art for me is not only about life but a way of adding to it, exploring it. I think with my brush. I think about the marks I make. I want to blow fresh air into established ways of looking at life and constantly to redefine myself and my relationship to the traditions of art.
When Smith was accepted by the Royal College of Art in London to participate in the Post Experience Programme, which offered him the opportunity to draw from cadavers at the University of London’s School of Medicine, he worked on variations of images, including interpretative anatomical sketches of body parts. These drawings are captured in his powerful series “Silent Orators”.  Additional work on this series includes the lithographs produced in Berlin, Germany, working at the Professional Association of Berlin Artists (BBK) printmaking facilities, as well as etchings from acrylic hard grounds, and the non-toxic etching process using photopolymer film. Smith developed his “Berlin Air Lift” studies drawn in situ at Berlin’s Templehof airport, and later re-interpreted, and printed them as linear images with the photopolymer film process at Berlin’s Druckstelle Printmaking Studios. Continuing his work at BBK, Smith further developed a selection of drawings done in India and produced as lithographs.Other thematic works i.e., Smith’s etching editions of “Warrior Suit of Armor”, “The London Bagpiper” and “Italian Youth”, as well as conté crayon drawings and digital prints, represent interpretations of images captured in selected art museums abroad and in the U.S.  Currently, Smith produces drawings and prints in his printmaking studio in San Diego, California, and works periodically in professional printmaking facilities in Berlin, Germany.Smith’s prints have received juried awards, including a purchase prize by the Pasadena Art Museum for its permanent collection.  His heavily embossed etching triptych titled  ‘Ranger I,II, III’  was  on loan from the Los Angeles County Art Museum Rental Gallery  to the NASA Jet Propulsion  Lab in Pasadena California.  Smith’s work has been shown in numerous private and public solo and group juried exhibitions. His works are currently being prepared for national and international exhibitions, and for public and private galleries and collections.
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ImMigration Project_Venice
Jan. 11, 2020

ImMigration Project at Self Help Graphics

Saturday, January 11th to February 22nd, 2020

Opening Reception, January 11th, 7PM - 9PM

Join us February 1st, 2020 from 1PM-3PM
For or a Gallery Walk through with participating artists followed by a
Panel Discussion on "Migration and Art”  with

Pavel Acevedo, Marianne Sadowski and Phumilelele Tshabalala

Included in this exhibition is a special preview of PAPER BOATS, a small flotilla will be on view in preparation for LA Printmaking on view at SGCI 2020 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, April 1-4, 2020.


The ImMigration Project, back from an exciting installation in Venice Italy, in October 2019 currently comprises 145 artists from all over North America and Europe!
This unique collaborative art project will continue to grow and travel. Help us find the next venues! And stay posted on all the news when you follow the ImMigration project on Facebook and Instagram!

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