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Ten questions with artist Michaell Magrutsche – by Lori Bjork, LA Examiner Michaell Magrutsche is an artist most well-known for his minimal pop art on canvas.
1. Michaell, at what age would you say you first began creating art? I was born in Vienna, Austria and was exposed to Modern Art at a very early age. Growing up in a Bauhaus home with a big collection of art by my uncle, the famous Austrian painter, the late Adolf Frohner.
2. Did you create for the fun of it, because you simply couldn’t not create art or some other reason? As long as I can remember, I have been involved with art in one form or another, from being a disc jockey to producing fashion shows, to producing/directing/screenwriting international programs for 20 years, to finally arrive at creating music and paintings. I always, and am still interested in creating the non-existent, the fresh, the new, the different. I can’t suppress this urge.
3. What age would you say you first began defining yourself as an artist? Most artists try to avoid as long as possible to call themselves the A word, unless they are successful and society coins them as such. I identified and owned being an artist in my late twenties when I reviewed my life and everything I ever did had to do with creating something.
4. What are your opinions about being paid for art? Do you consider yourself a professional artist? I consider myself a professional artist. I believe that it is a fundamental human right to be paid to be able to support yourself for any job that contributes to society. Especially in times like these, automation and economic progress made it possible to produce all the widgets the world needs with about 25% of the workforce. Since we get only more economical, humans need something to be passionate about. Creating beauty, knowledge using the muses are some solutions. We need to see contributions other than creating widgets as valuable and worthy to be paid. If not, we will have anarchy or war. There is enough money and food for everyone.
5. Have you had formal training? Yes and no. I have a UC advanced screenwriting certificate. I have collaborated with other artists like Bob Evans. I have done numerous workshops and read tons of books. If so, how do you feel it has helped you as an artist? How do you feel it has hindered you? If not, what are your thoughts about formal training? I was told by numerous established artists and I agree with the following theory: first, paint to find what medium and subjects you like and try to find your uniqueness in those trials. After that, go to school to refine your drawing technique, dance skills or writing technique, etc. If you choose school fist, you will be driven further away from your unique voice. For example, you will never know how you would have drawn a horse; instead, you learn how it is done the “right way”. The problem: once you learned the “right way” it is harder to find your voice because now you always have the “right” parameter in front of you. Formal training is good for art history and helps you learn various techniques to refine the craft. It does not teach how to create flow or find your individual voice.
6. If you could create art with a different medium than the one you are most well-known for, what would it be? Limestone and marble, but I would miss the colors. I need the interplay of shapes and hues.
7. What inspires you? I am inspired when something different draws my attention. Not different for the sake of difference, but different as in expressing a fresh, new way–an original creation. Do you have some sort of “something” you do that when you do it ideas for new projects just seem to flow? Be in nature. Take a walk and listen to music. A recent painting was inspired by a book. Do you ever record your ideas for future use? If so, what is your favorite way? Yes, snippets here and there; like ideas, a color combination, a design, a photo, a doodle, an emotional tone. I put them on paper then review them in the future. If the ideas hold up, I develop them on the fly into a more refined version. The one that has the strongest potential is going to be my next work.
8. What is your favorite curse word? Mothaf*cka! It’s poetic.
9. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? I already do. I am a breakthrough coach. Art is a part of the human condition. I guess it’s all one job.
10. What’s next for you? What else is possible? Art, politics and teaching what it means to be an artist. Everywhere I look in high positions of the art business, I see attorneys and business people that love art, very rarely artists. That is a problem because one can’t really be in touch with artists or understand the language when one has never created out of a blank space. That creation process is holy and so intricate, so powerful, that artists speak their own language to grasp nuances. Communicating in depth about creativity and artistic values especially in contemporary art without being an artist; it is like saying, “I know sex because I did it to myself and watch it.” Having sex with someone else is a completely different experience. That’s why artists need to be in art politics or be dominant in contemporary art institutions.
If someone would be interested in seeing, buying art you already have created and/or commissioning you for an art project, what would be your preferred way, currently, to have them contact you?
Go to my website www.michaellart.com (author note: please be sure to include two l’s or you will get a completely different website that is not even close to representing this artist’s art) to see my body of work. If my art speaks to you, read about my thoughts, which will bring more clarity to my work on my website or blog www.michaellart.tumblr.com. When you get to “I want this one” send me an email or call to make arrangements.
My favorite way to work with a collector is when someone shows me their room/space and asks me to make suggestions. I like to make strong visual impressions, especially in big public spaces where it is important to imprint a memory. Sometimes I get asked to paint a similar piece from the website in a different size or color to fit the right space.
Michaell’s gallery is located in Newport Beach. Thanks Article link by Lori Bjork, LA Examiner October Issue.
One Most Interesting Artist by Dawn Pettit Orange Coast Magazine Arts & Entertainment issue. Michaell was selected as one of the most interesting up and coming Orange County artists by Orange Coast Magazine. Michaell Magrutsche’s art career began as a struggle to find artwork to hang in his Newport Beach home. “I’ve always been involved in creative endeavors, but it was the lack of art that appealed to me while decorating my new home that inspired me to begin painting,” he says. The native Austrian now has several of his own pieces that he rotates through his home, which is also his working studio. “I need this reflection because it uplifts me and keeps me confident in my ability,” he adds. Magrutsche specializes in “liminal abstract art, what he calls the space between abstract and concrete. He credits his uncle the famous Austrian painter Adolf Frohner, with teaching him the power of abstract. He says, “I want the color and design in my art to grab you, engage you and seduce you into getting lost in its content.” Michaell at his exhibition at Sandstone Gallery in Laguna Beach, CA 2006 by Dawn Pettit Orange Coast Magazine
Abstract Art That’s Upbeat by Kathleen Stinson, Los Angeles Times. Michaell Magrutsche aims to inspire with his abstract work at Newport Beach Central Library. “It’s a lost cause to paint nature,” Michaell said. Michaell Magrutsche knows he can’t compete with nature. The abstract painter eschews representational art because even the best painting of a horse can never compete with a real horse. He likes abstract art because it involves the viewer and is proactive.
“Michaell’s Upbeat Abstracts,” a group of acrylic paintings on display at Newport Beach Central Library shows a developed sense of art by a second-generation abstract painter. Magrutsche, who was born in Vienna, Austria, grew up exposed to the art of his uncle, Adolf Frohner, the late famous Austrian painter.
Despite the strong influence, Magrutsche said he found his own way. Michaell believes art should inspire and uplift. “These days when I enter a room, I want to feel a painting — I want its color and design to grab me,” Magrutsche said. “I am not an elitist artist — either you like it or you don’t.” He likes to paint what he calls “liminal” abstracts, which means the viewer interprets the space between the lines and brings something of themselves to the painting. “I would like my paintings to stimulate the viewer in a way that his or her imagination is triggered to fill in the blanks, thereby creating an interaction with the artwork and playing with the unfilled spaces in a myriad of possibilities,” he said.
Michaell also believes a painting should stand on its own, not be the backdrop for a new sofa. He said he’s seen a painting by Picasso in a baroque-style apartment and in the most modern of apartment décor. Either place the Picasso is well placed. The artist uses bold colors and simple forms. “The color in a painting should grab you,” he said. “I am inspired when something grabs my attention. I find vibrant color and special color combinations most rewarding.” The show runs through end of March. By Kathleen Stinson, Los Angeles Times
Writer, Painter, Entertainment Veteran by Staff Writer, The Standard. Writer, Painter And Entertainment Industry Veteran Enjoys Home at Newport Beach. Michaell Magrutsche’s resume reads like a character and one of the television pilots he helps produce.
A native of Austria, Magrutsche has been employed in virtually every aspect of the entertainment industry, from voice-over work and television broadcaster to television producer, programmer and distributor. His varied career began with and “fascination for the television medium.” After visiting Southern California in 1982, he co-founded an UHF TV licensing company. When cable “hit big” in the states, Magrutsche embarked on a related endeavor to form a partnership with Austria MD Media to develop television programming and media events focused on the European markets.
“Because of the contacts I had made here, I was able to help put together a children’s program, which was essentially a pilot project for one of the first interactive television shows,” he says.” This led to a documentary for Austrian television about U.S. magicians. For these programs I traveled extensively between the United States and Europe. I have to say that I have always enjoyed working with Americans in this industry.”
In 1988, Magrutsche was approached by Hollywood producer Robert Evans (“Chinatown,” “Cotton Club”) to invest in an international television project. “I had to take a chance and try this,” he says. So I came back to Southern California and lived for about 6 months in Evans’ home. It lies during this period that I discovered Orange County.”
It was also this time that Magrutsche discovered himself through participating in some self-realization programs which “gave me a better understanding of how the mind and emotions work and made me realize that my perceptions of myself are completely wrong” this new found “self-awareness” that Magrutsche to develop a “new language” to facilitate communication between business minded and creative individuals.
His efforts culminated in a book which he hopes to complete this summer. “It’s essentially an emotional language that everybody can relate to,” he says.” For example if someone asks what a particular film is about and the response is that it’s a Western, that doesn’t offer any insights into what the movie is really about. But when you say that it is a story about the betrayal of love that happens to be set in the West, that gives you a better understanding.”
Magrutsche’s theory has practical application, where producers, directors and writers need to “be on the same page” in order to successfully complete a project. “The language essentially helps guide creatively in the sense that it forms the parameters or framework which everybody can then work within.”
A resident of Newport Beach, the newly married Magrutsche says that also has “traveled the world,” Southern California feels like home. “You can’t beat the climate here,” “I enjoy living in Newport because it’s so close to everything, it’s very safe and quiet and the surroundings are beautiful and tranquil with all the gardens, trees and greenery.” by Staff Writer, The Standard March Issue
Airport Painting Inspiration by Angie Marcos, Coast Magazine Newport Beach painter Michaell Magrutsche inspires imagination. Michaell Magrutsche wants his art to be interactive. “I want its color and design to grab you, call you and seduce you into getting engaged in its content.” An Orange County artist who originates from Vienna, Austria. He moved to Southern California over 30 years ago.
Today, he paints from his home studio in Newport Beach, where he tends to hold monthly exhibitions with other painters, musicians and writers. Magrutsche’s works are currently on display at John Wayne Airport through December 19 as part of the facility’s Community Focus Space Program. The program aims to bring high quality art to the Riley Terminal (for more information on the art program, visit ocair.com/terminal/art).
We sat down with Magrutsche to get some insight on the man behind the brush:
From where do you draw the inspiration for your art? Primarily, from my mind and my own imagination. That does not mean that I am one of the cathartic painters who express their emotions on the canvas. I prefer to leave my internal conflicts at the psychiatrist’s office in order to purely express my creative expressions.
A clear mind allows me to transfer my purest inspirations onto canvas, focusing on the emotional impact of the finished painting. I am inspired when something different draws my attention; not different for different sake but an original, different creation – a fresh expression. I am creatively fed by other artists like Miles Davis, Ellsworth Kelly and Le Corbusier, whose works speak to me.
Just how much does Orange County inspire your art? Orange County is a relatively “young” county. I see it artistically like a blank canvas where subcultures have not yet formed a general art consensus. You see, when you talk about New York, it has a specific art feel to it – modern art, Broadway, beautiful architecture, etc.
Orange County is still free of such a cohesive expression, but it has very strong subcultures like surfing along the coast, art in Laguna and Costa Mesa, wealth and luxury in Newport Beach and Latin culture in Santa Ana. With all that variety, you can go skiing and surfing on the same day.
If I need a setting to be inspired, I literally can decide what I need and be at one of those destinations within an hour.
How and why did you become involved in the Community Focus Space Program at John Wayne Airport? It’s always a very rewarding experience having people look at your art instead of having it stored away. I am continuously on the lookout for places to expose my work.
I remembered art at the airport and contacted Mr. Frisch [Jeffrey Frisch is coordinator of the John Wayne Airport Arts Program], who guided me from the application process to the final exhibition. Most artists follow an established pattern that leads them to an enjoyable experience: conception/inspiration, plan/execution and exposure/appreciation/sale. The Community Focus Space Program allows me to expose my art to many people, to have it appreciated and open the possibility for sales.
On the other side, community art programs help showcase a city’s creative capital to visitors and its citizens. If done well, it should give you an experience like seeing a coyote for the first time at dusk by your house: “Oh! I did not know they had this here in Orange County.”
How would you describe your art style to someone who has never seen it before or who doesn’t know much about art? The “best works” can mean nothing to you. A finger painting by your daughter can get your emotional gratification to an all-time high. You don’t need to know about art in order to enjoy it. Art is what inspires. To inspire means to uplift. There are many variations of uplifting and we all have different tastes.
If a piece of art speaks to you, you’ve already won. Trying to conceptualize this mystical thing called art will give insights about the creator and the process. Conceptualizing will ultimately fail to expose what the art’s essence, voices and experiences are.
In my opinion, one should be touched by art first and then study the why about art and not vice versa. I would call my art minimal abstract. I use an uplifting color palette and eye-catching designs. The designs are simple, abstract, organic shapes and forms, which should trigger one’s imagination or remind you of something.
I try to use a very limited color palette, often only two to four different colors. The colors are primary and opaque. Color variations are strong opposites with a hard edge. What would you like viewers of your artwork to walk away thinking?
I would like my art to stimulate the viewer in a way that triggers your imagination to want to fill in the blanks, thereby creating an interaction with my works. It should cause a response similar to that of listening to the music of minimalists, such as Miles Davis or Steve Reich, where one’s mind and soul complete the picture, playing with the unfilled spaces in a myriad of possibilities to make it exclusively yours.
When they enter a room, I want the viewer to feel my paintings. I love the viewer to get caught up in the inexplicable power of colors and shapes that evoke a range of emotions. Thank you. By Angie Marcos, Coast Magazine
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