MICHELLE GUINTU

 

WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF MAKING ART?

Earliest memory is when I was 4. I just remember doodling on phonebooks, lol remember those? Like any kid, I would draw in books and if I found a blank page I would be super happy. My parents grew up in the Philippines and weren't that Americanized yet so buying things like notebooks and paper and stuff wasn't that normal in our household. They were into buying practical things when I was really young. I'm kind of happy I grew up using books, magazines, and random pens lying around. Its kind of cute. I remember when I was around 12 years old I asked my mom to buy these specific brand of markers at this specific store and she bought them and my heart was so happy. She got off of work at 9 and the store closed at 10, so it meant a lot to me.

I remember being super excited whenever my kindergarten teacher would paint something. My mom drew a rose once and it was the best, cutest rose I have ever seen, She used a ballpoint pen on like a super small piece of scrap paper. Ugh, so good. I wish I kept that drawing, I would get that tattooed on me.

THATS INTERESTING, WHY DO YOU THINK THAT THE ROSE IN PARTICULAR IS SO SIGNIFICANT TO YOU? WAS IT THE TRANSLATION OF NATURE ITSELF? THATS BEEN SOMETHING THAT HAS ALWAYS INTRIGUED ME PERSONALLY.

I think its so significant because it was kind of ugly looking and I liked how it wasn't perfect but mainly because my mom drew it. I think also it was just a good memory. We were drawing on the carpeted floor with my older sister and we were bonding and stuff. My mom isn't into drawing at all so I just appreciated that she did something out of her element, it was super cute.

 

 WHAT WAS IT ABOUT CREATING A PIECE OF ART THAT INTRIGUED YOU THE MOST?

I like the feeling I get when I'm finished with a piece, I'm like "Oh shit! I made that?". Sometimes that's how I hype myself up to work on more stuff. It's kind of a struggle, you know? Rent in San Francisco is so crazy, I've been painting in my room. But I've been lucky enough to have temporary work spaces when I need to work on large scale stuff.

I HEAR YOU, RENT IN NEW YORK IS NO JOKE EITHER. I THINK THATS WHY SO MANY PEOPLE CHOOSE VOCATIONAL CAREERS THAT REQUIRE DEGREES. THE UNPREDICTABILITY OF INCOME FOR AN ARTIST SCARES PEOPLE.

Oh for sure, I plan on moving to New York next year so I'm pretty aware of the reality of the cost of living there. I feel like I've done everything I wanted to do in San Francisco, so I feel that New York is the next best move. But yeah, unpredictability scares me too. Sometimes I question myself like, what am I doing? And I get bummed out; but I think everyone thinks like that regardless of what they choose to do in life.

 
"Stone Love" 

"Stone Love" 

SO HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO FULLY EMBARK A CAREER AS AN ARTIST?

I think when I couldn't hold onto a "real job" anymore is when I decided to concentrate on my art full time. I have to constantly take time off to get ready for shows or make work in general. So now I hold on to work where hours are flexible. I used to be unemployed and work on art all day but I kind of went crazy. I need some sort of human interaction. Have you ever stayed in your room all day and not talked to anyone at all? And when you finally talk to someone you're awkward as hell and don't know what to say, because there's literally nothing to say lol. Its so weird though because when I had a job I wished I could work on art all day. And when I was able to work on art all day I wanted a job. Stupid huh? Oh well. Right now I'm in a good spot. Its super 'even flow'? Like that Pearl Jam song lol. 

 

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE NOTION THAT 'EVERYTHING HAS BEEN DONE BEFORE'?

I don't think thats true. With the internet and new technology I think tweaking what has been done before is 'new'. I can't explain it. There are always going to be references or similarities but there is always going to be something new to my eyes. My friend started to airbrush on t shirts which has been done for ever, but it is a new style to airbrushing.

 

WHAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?

Something new that I can obsess over. I've been watching a lot of anime and Sailor Moon again. I feel like my new work will have some sort of reaction to that. New ideas keep me going, and seeing my friends making rad stuff keeps me inspired too. Sometimes its hard when you have a dry spell or get bored. So, being around people who are living a similar lifestyle helps.  

 

BEING AROUND THE RIGHT PEOPLE IS A MAJOR KEY TO ALWAYS KEEP PUSHING YOURSELF AND STAY MOTIVATED. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CHAT WITH US! DO YOU HAVE ANY LAST PIECE OF ADVICE?

Last piece of advice I have for anyone is keep pushing yourself and be true to yourself. It's not always about selling a painting. Don't lose that special feeling you had when you first started making things.

 

Original paintings, prints, and tees available HERE

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