About Michael Speaker
Michael Speaker grew up in Portland Oregon in a musical family. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon and an MFA in painting from the University of Colorado in Boulder Colorado. He moved to Los Angeles working in the movie business as a IATSE local 816, scenic artist and as a special effects sculptor and modelmaker. Since the middle eighties he has been doing his own work as well as commissioned work too. His work is mostly in private collections.
He lives with his wife Flavia, in Richfield, MN. They recently moved from the lower Hudson River Valley of New York.
About Michael Speaker's artwork
Michael Speaker's signature sculpture style are animals or figures covered wooden tiles that often open into a fall leaf desk or bureaucrat with drawers in them. He also makes wooden sculpture covered in tiles as well as carved wood.
He also has his work cast in bronze. The bronze rhino, inspired by Durer, is a maquette for a full-size desk, similar in craftsmanship to the other animal desks. His work has been shown in museums and galleries in the US and more recently completed several commissions for private collectors.
Some of his work satirizes the business world which is so desparately needed these days.The inspiration for tis part of his work is from dealing with the business of art, mostly around negotiating for commissions. Most of these pieces are in private collections …of businessmen.
Mort recently, Michael has created a newsmall sculpture series, reflecting today's economic climate.
My initial reaction to an artist’s statement is Look and the Art!
But after meeting many who use their eyes solely for avoiding bumping into telephone poles, I will to add a few details:
As a sculptor, I pay attention to movement and shadows. One views the piece by moving around it which moves the shadows,. And when modeling the piece, I am moving the shadows around.
As an artist, I have to pay attention to the basic elements, line, form and color. I hang lines in the air. The whole is a form.
As part of the art historical conversation, I look at what has been done and try to make what I do my own but very aware of the debts to others I owe which I can never properly pay back. I also strive to make work that has one has a hard time putting a date on it.
Whenever I put a sculpture out there without a base, I think Modern. When I put it on a base, I think Postmodern. My quick definitions of Modern throws out all of art history and starts over in the 20th Century – think Duchanp and that thread, and PostModern is the past 30 years which I view as we can add all that history back in again. No base is fine and a base is ok as well
I have chosen to put subject matter in my work. As opposed to not having a subject matter, AE.. That can lead to a long discussion, but not here.
Having chosen to go with subject matter, I choose carefully, as if this is important. It is to me. But that can also be a source for laughter. Recently, Patricis Delahanty interviewed me for an article in the National Sculpture Society’s Bulletin. During the interview, I was blathering along about the ideas behind my work. She stopped me and said, “I just want to look at the work”.
I knew that all along.