Michelle Magnus Brown
Michelle Magnus Brown was born in California and raised on the island of Kauai. During her teenage years, she spent time in Southern California and then in New Mexico. After graduating from high school, she studied graphic design at Santa Barbara City College with an art scholarship, then completed her degree in fine arts at Eastern Oregon University.
After university, Michelle relocated to Fort Collins, CO, and worked in graphic design and showed her paintings in several area galleries.
After 21 years in Colorado, Michelle moved to Northern California, where she currently resides in the Bay Area with her husband. With both kids grown and off on their own, Michelle is able to take a brush to canvas and consistently create new work. She often blurs the lines between graphic design and fine art. Nature and a deep curiosity about the motivations of society are the two main themes in her work.
What is “fine art,” and what is worth putting on a wall? Should it be purely beautiful, or should it ask questions of the viewer? What gives it the right to be on the wall in the first place?
My latest work intentionally blurs the lines and methods of commercial art with “fine art.” This latest evolution in my work was probably to be expected since my career has spanned years in the world of graphic design. “Fine art” was something I was taught to keep separate. But recently I began merging graphic compositions onto my canvas or board, then painting into them with acrylics. The slick look of graphics with the organic look and feel of brush strokes and paint creates a pleasurable and unexpected tension in the work.
This new fusion applies to a specific subject matter that is figurative with provocative messaging. It questions what it means to be a woman, and as such, an icon. It tests the waters of pop with that of nature and tradition. Some viewers may think it shouldn’t be on the wall in the living room….or should it?