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Her list of inspiration sources is endless and so are her dreams. Michelle Weinberg is a visual artist living and working in New York City and Miami. Her works include a varied medium like painting, collage, rugs, tiles and mosaic. Besides that, she also produces art for architecture and public spaces, in which she always tries to make the sublime geometry within our built environment visible. We reflect on what she’s done so far and what we can still expect from her in the future.
Do you still remember your first work?
The most significant work in public space was a milestone for me. I designed an outdoor mosaic mural for Miami’s riverfront in 2005. It was created by the fantastic Miotto Studios in New York and installed by Stephen Miotto onsite in sections, like puzzle pieces. It was pretty exciting to see my imagery translated into permanent, bright coloured glass mosaic.
How has your style evolved over the years?
When I look at older work, I’m always surprised to see the consistency of my obsessions! Flat colour, graphic outline, shallow space, pattern and fragmented narrative scenarios – these terms accurately describe all the work I’ve ever created.
Besides painting and collage, you also design rugs, tiles, mosaic and you produce art for architecture and public spaces. In what way do you approach these projects differently?
All my projects in varied mediums involve at least a minimum of understanding about the technical limitations and possibilities of each. I like to visit the artisans, touch, make samples and see the colours. I find that some sort of grid, graph or canvas – picels, loom, molds – are at the bottom of each, and I am drawn to this internal graph. It’s kind of a molecular structure for all surfaces, linking the digital and the handmade. If I paint interior and exterior spaces with walls and floors, it’s a fantastic process to then bring these things to life in a real physical space, for people to enjoy in the form of rugs, tiles, mosaics or murals.

Art is a creative way to communicate a message to the outside world, what would be the overall story/concept behind your work?
Ah – there’s really only one message from me – to live life fully, occupy all the available space with colour, with rhythm and to tell your story, share good things. I believe in the power of art to make life beautiful, to expand consciousness, to slow down our congested attention spans so that we humans can have a full-spectrum aesthetic experience, and then share it with others!
How do people recognize a real Michelle Weinberg? 
I guess I have some kind of signature. It would have to be a playful pre-occupation with colour, pattern, a theater-set type of space and perhaps some ambiguous text floating around.
You are, with no doubt, an inspiration to many – who or what inspires you?

My list of inspirations is long, looping and grows daily. I am inspired equally by ancient Indian miniature paintings as by contemporary digital game space. I am a restless researcher, a magpie, and I avidly pursue my eclectic interests in fashion and textile design, in graphic design and typography, and more esoteric sources such as early camouflage, Arabic calligraphy, bargello needlepoint, furniture design, window design, Warner Bros. cartoons, curio cabinets and more…
The dimensions in your work are often geometric and have elastic perspectives. How do you aim to transform/complement a public surrounding with your art? 
When I propose art for a public space, I’m essentially projecting the dimensions of my painting world into and onto the actual world. The proportions of a place, how it is used, by how many people - these are all elements in an equation that I work around in my imagination until something gels that feels absolutely right for that place. I think I’m always trying to reveal the sublime geometry within our built environment, to make that visible and magical if I can. I think a lot about how individuals can interact and be moved by something I design, whether it’s the intimate architecture of the medicine cabinet or large scale shop windows and public art installations.

What kind of materials do you use for your paintings and with which technique(s) do you work to create this dimensional effect?
I love the open-ended possibilities of paint technology. Digital tools are pretty amazing, but nothing is as responsive to touch and imagination like paint. I’m a sucker for intense, light-filled flat color, so for works on paper I use gouache, sometimes watercolor. For murals, latex house paint is far superior - and less noxious - than aerosol spray paint. I’m looking forward to immersing myself again in large-scale oil paintings on canvas - transparent glazes, textures, scraped surfaces - it’s very rich.
You have built up quite an extraordinary career already, including exhibitions, commissions, art projects and awards, among many other things. How would you describe yourself as an artist?
I have a lot of energy and I guess I harness that restlessness into all kinds of (mostly) productive activity. As long as there’s time to re-charge, to read, to absorb, I’m happy.
Can you highlight a project and/or award that has a special place in your heart?
I was recently honored to receive a Pollock-Krasner Foundation award. I have been aware of this award since my student days, and I am very grateful to join a long list of wonderful artist recipients. Feels very good.
Besides having done many amazing things already, do you still have dreams for the future?
Many dreams! I’m currently at Mayer of Munich in Germany, a wonderful five-generations-old studio for mosaic and glass production. It’s really interesting to learn new techniques and to make samples of my work in glass – material I’ve never worked with before. I document this journey on my Instagram. And I’d also love to realise a building of my own design. I come from a family of architects, and my dad made a wonderful blueprint drawing for me, of my optimal live/work/guests place where people can come and visit. It’s possible this could happen…

Sanne Nooitgedagt
Stephan Göttlicher

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