Little Rock’s Pleasant Ridge Shopping Center is home to a unique local treasure: Art Group Gallery. Founded and operated by area artists, it is a true working gallery where area artists have a studio to paint and can display their works to sell in the front of the shop. Follow along as we feature different artists each month who will each share the inspiration and stories behind a few of his or her pieces.
Little Rock artist Michelle Gunter Moore is the co-owner of a small research based bio-statistical consulting group. She has been creating art since 1998. Her art studio is located at 221 Second St. in the Pyramid Place Building, and her work can be found at her studio or the Art Group Gallery in Pleasant Ridge Town Center. She currently has work in the Arkansas Society of Printmakers show “New Kids on the Block” at the Galleries at Library Square. Today, she’s joining us on the blog to share the inspiration behind some of her recent works.
At Home: As an artist are there certain settings, people, or places that inspire you?
Michelle Moore: Even from an early age, I can remember sitting on a bench in the mall or in a park under a tree, quietly observing the people around me. I feel that many of us do this—we are people watchers. We will create a personal relationship to those we observe; a narrative that tells a story that only we imagined. This is what I try to capture in my work, the emotion, the capacity of perception, that moment in time, etc. I believe this is why I am obsessed with photographs of people, both vintage and those I have taken more recently. I have enabled these photographs to engage me in the same way as observing people from afar.
AH: How do you use these photographs in your work? Do you replicate them or put your own spin on them?
MM: I don’t try to render the photograph, for it captured the moment as a perfect image. My intention is to capture the emotions perceived. I rarely pay attention to the background or even the gender of the figures. I prefer to let the body language, the stance, the color, and texture convey the meaning of the work to the viewer. For example, the inspiration for “Circle of Dreams” came from a stash of black and white photos I had purchased at a flea market. In several photos there was a young couple standing in a field of crops. They seemed so happy and excited to start a life together.
AH: What about photographs you’ve taken? Do you use those as inspiration?
MM: The Bayfront Series of monotypes are from several days of people watching, photographing, and drawing in the South Bay area of San Francisco, hence the name of the series. I spent my days capturing raw human nature as people were walking along the bay in their own world. This monotype series was a challenge because it was made with very limited materials in my hotel room. I only had what I had traveled with or had found to use to create the series. It helped me realize that I didn’t need a lot of materials or room to create.
AH: Do you have a certain style you choose to work in frequently? Or do you experiment with different styles and techniques?
MM: Almost all my art is abstract figurative, but I have been wanting to create a simple abstract by recycling a plastic bag and making a print of it. I know it sounds weird, but I was curious to see what type of texture would come to play once I put ink on the bag and printed it on paper. A by-product in the process of printing, the bag created these wonderful printed paper pieces that I then used as a collage element in the print, breaking the perimeter line of the image to develop interest. The title helps you understand that this print was all about recycling and reuse.
AH: A completely new technique; that’s very interesting. Do you continue to use it?
MM: Yes, the outcome of “Reassume” made me to want to incorporate a figure into the printing of a recycled plastic bag. This led me to my “Rainy Day Dream” series of monotype prints that are abstract figurative. The day these were created was a very cold, drab, and rainy day. The kind of day that keeps you inside where it is warm, cozy, and comforting and this is what set the title and the color of the prints.
See more of Michelle’s work and learn how you can shop Art Group Gallery at artgrouparkansas.com.