To what or to whom do you attribute a part of your success? How has it/have they helped you become the artist you are today?
My list of support systems is long, and I can’t mention everybody, but I will mention my mom, dad, brother, sister, ex-wife, my teachers — including Amy Metier and Rosenclair — and my kids.
They’ve supported me in all ways – financially, emotionally and just kind of being there. I even attribute my success to the antagonists. The people who told me I couldn’t be successful at this gave me a challenge, and I liked it.
My kids have contributed to my success in a different way. They made me look at how I was supposed to move forward in the world. When my kids start asking me who I am, I get to say that I am an artist. Not many people can say that. It would’ve broken my heart to tell them that I gave up my dreams for them. Instead of choosing between the two, I chose both, and it meant that I had to be more organized and intentional.
What role does art play in your home? Describe the importance of art in the home.
I have a pretty minimal house. I don’t have a lot of art on the walls or furniture, but in that way, it’s a bit of an oasis because I’m around so much art outside of the home. The things in my home are sentimental, and the art pieces I do have are fairly circulatory and move around all the time.
More important than having art in your home is having art in your life. Art changes how you take on seeing and thinking. When a good piece of art is in front of you, it changes your thoughts.
As an artist, inspiration and creative spark can be either fleeting or saturated in daily life. Where do you find a sense of calm?
I always have a calm. It’s almost like it’s right next to me all the time. As soon as I need to start painting, I step to the right and it’s always right there with me. Everybody talks about how artists need to find inspiration and find the muse, while the ones that are making art just get to work.
Do you have any upcoming shows or projects you would like to promote?
The best place to find my upcoming shows or get more information on my current projects is my Instagram, @michaeldowlingstudio. Below are some of my highlighted endeavors.
True West focuses on giving a voice to artists that are making work outside of what we typically see as new west. We usually schedule this show around the same time as the National Western Stock Show and we are looking to expand to Aspen and Trinidad.
The 360 Project is a creative venture designed for artists to rethink the cadence in which they make money. Artists must pay money out in a way that’s quite different from how we generate income, the latter being non-cyclical. I wanted to reverse engineer that process, so I started asking people to sign up for a day, and whatever day they sign up for, I create a piece of art priced at $360. This process helps in a few ways: I get to sell more pieces that may otherwise be challenging to sell (they are the raw versions of my work; the initial layers that say as they began and get less layering and change) and it helps to have a more consistent and structured stream of income.