Elysia Michaelsen, Director of Education


Recent Posts

3 min read

A Conversation with Drawing Instructor Liz Miller

By Elysia Michaelsen, Director of Education on 06/29/2017

Your practice is rooted in painting. In what ways does that sensibility translate to your collage-like drawings and large-scale installations?
I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in painting, but it's been years since I've painted in any traditional sense. That being said, my works are always concerned with some of the very basic concepts of painting - edge, color, illusionistic space vs sculptural space. I think I approach my works on paper and installations in a very painterly way - nothing is permanent. I work from a place of intuition, but calculated intuition. I try to have a plan... but in the middle of the process, I might deviate from it wildly; the same way that one might start a painting anew by painting over 95% of it. I think a strong painting background has allowed me to be spontaneous in my work, in ways that those with more formal training in areas like sculpture or installation might struggle with. Sometimes I wish I had more of the technical background in 3D that some of my peers have, but I try to embrace my limitations and use them to my best advantage.  
 
What are you currently working on in the studio?
I'm currently working on three separate installations for solo exhibitions this fall in Colorado, Wisconsin, and Maine. I tend to alternate between works on paper and installations. I imagine that when I finish the trio of exhibitions this fall, I'll return to works on paper for a bit. The installations and works on paper tend to feed off of one another, but I have a difficult time working on them simultaneously.

My current installations are incorporating a much wider range of materials - I just came back from a fabric shopping expedition with some awesome textured vinyls and patterned upholstery fabrics. I am interested to see how these play out in the forthcoming installations, and how they show up in the works on paper.

Although my work often explores tensions between imagery that has its roots in beauty and imagery that has its roots in violence or destruction, lately the forms have become far more ambiguous. At this point in time, I'm less interested in specific sets of imagery and more interested in calculated ambiguity that creates a strong psychological or emotional response. It's a difficult shift. For so long, I relied on the works being tied to specific source material. I am letting much of that go. I am now interested in elaborate fictions that can be conveyed in a very non-objective way.
 
How does your practice impact your teaching philosophy? And vice versa?
My studio practice leaves a lot of room for deviating from the plan - I like to be able to respond to something exciting in my work and not worry about the plan! Of course, improvisation requires a ton of practice. It's harder to do in my teaching, because I have an audience full of expectations and I don't want to let them down! That being said, now that I've taught college for over a decade, and taught in quite a few other settings, I feel that one of the most important aspects of teaching is knowing when to steer away from a set plan to explore something else. Often, the experience and the results are even better than I anticipated.
 
What are you most looking forward to during your time teaching at PenArt?
I am thrilled to finally visit Door County! Although we live in Minnesota, I've never been to that part of the Midwest and I've heard rave reviews. I'm also excited about the short and focused format that the workshop will offer. There's something so terrific about having that kind of intensive time, both as an instructor and as a student. Life often forces us to bounce from one thing to another without really being able to become engrossed in the task at hand. This is an opportunity for everyone to really immerse themselves in the experience without the usual distractions.
 
How can we find you and your work on social media and the web?
My website, www.lizmiller.com, is currently undergoing a big transition, so I don't know if it will be up to date by the time of the workshop. It shows examples of past works, but not as many current works. The best place to follow me in real-time is on Instagram @lizlenoremiller. I post often about art...and if you follow me, you'll also have to tolerate a few posts about poodles and making juice. 

Topics: Faculty Drawing
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2 min read

A Conversation with Photography Instructor Travis Roozee

By Elysia Michaelsen, Director of Education on 06/15/2017

When did you start working in photography? How did you find this path?
When I was about eight years old, I used my parents' Kodak to make snapshots of race cars, our cat, and my friends. Recognizing my interest, my grandfather bought me an advanced camera and took me on camping-photography trips in Door County. He explained lighting, composition, and introduced me to printing in a darkroom. My grandfather's lessons continue to have an impact - they influence my teaching and guide my practice. 
 
What are you currently working on in the studio?
I recently learned how to screen print, which is a departure from working exclusively with lens based media. It's exciting to be working with an unfamiliar process. I've made bold patterns that riff on color, scale, and basic shapes. Additionally, I've been creating computer-rendered vignettes that are then printed with 19th century techniques. This hybrid workflow allows me to design with precision while the final piece is an object that is lush and a little magical.
 
How does your practice impact your teaching philosophy? And vice versa?
Laszlo Moholy-Nagy described the constant flow of learning and self-improvement as "restless experimentation". His philosophy is a framework for my practice and my teaching. In the classroom, I challenge students to create a path for themselves, to dialogue with peers, and accept successes and mistakes as part of the learning process. The advice I give to my students is similar to my own evolving philosophy.
 
What are you most looking forward to during your time teaching at PenArt?
This is my first workshop at PenArt, though I have been visiting the peninsula for many years. I look forward to merging my longstanding appreciation for Door County with new experiences at PenArt.
 
How can we find you and your work on social media and the web?
Via my website www.travisroozee.com and Instagram @travisroozee

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2 min read

A Conversation with Painting Instructor Gregory Euclide

By Elysia Michaelsen, Director of Education on 06/01/2017

Much of your work combines a variety of media. Can you provide some insight into how your practice evolved from more traditional painting/drawing to the relief work you have been making the last several years?
Landscape is a selective process. Many hold dear the type of landscape that might be found on a postcard or seen from a scenic turnout. What I noticed, is that the scenic turnout, most of the time, allows you to only look at nature that is very far away. When I would walk out to one of those distant places from the turnout, the space would frequently be littered with waste. Even the most pristine spaces, when looked at closely, were full of human waste. To make my traditional landscape drawings more "real", I wanted to include that.
 
What are you currently working on in the studio?
Currently, I am working on a series of relief works that have traditional paintings built into twisted plastic substrates.
 
How does your practice impact your teaching philosophy? And vice versa?
Everything I do in the studio and classroom is based on exploration; I learn and teach through doing. 
 
What are you most looking forward to during your time teaching at PenArt?
I'm looking forward to exploring the unique landscape of Door County and creating some great examples of land based works.
 
How can we find you and your work on social media and the web?
You can find me on Instagram @gregory_euclide, on Twitter @gregoryeuclide, and on my website. 

Topics: Faculty Painting
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2 min read

A Conversation with Sculpture Instructor Amy Brier

By Elysia Michaelsen, Director of Education on 05/18/2017

When did you first begin working in stone? What does stone offer, both technically and conceptually, that other sculpting media don't?

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2 min read

A Conversation with Printmaking Instructor Melissa Wagner-Lawler

By Elysia Michaelsen, Director of Education on 05/04/2017

Your work investigates the destruction of language and communication. How do printmaking techniques and book forms promote those concepts?

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2 min read

A Conversation with Drawing Instructor Kate Borcherding

By Elysia Michaelsen, Director of Education on 04/20/2017

Your practice explores the human figure and related narratives through a range of materials and scales, from large ceramic sculptures to intimate drawings. Can you give us some insight into how you select the medium and/or scale for each work?

Topics: Faculty Drawing
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