Our newest “meet our member” features Alan Maciag, an artist who has been involved with Studio 23 since he was 19 years old. I’m really enjoying these opportunities to get to know our members better and to show the community how you can be involved with your local arts organizations.
We started our chat by asking how his education career related to his art career. Al taught for the Frankenmuth school district, teaching art. During his education he learned many mediums to teach the kids, but as he was teaching he was also getting ideas for his own techniques. As a teacher it was his job to give his students the basics so they could have the skills to succeed.
Reminiscing on how Alan got involved with Studio 23 we ventured down memory lane. The Little Red School house was a memorable experience for Alan. He met local artists that he bonded with and learned from. Artists like, Dr Culver Jones and Don Coates, two original founders of Studio 23. Alan has great memories of working with them and attending receptions with them. The place to be was Studio 23 on a Friday night to celebrate the newest exhibit!
Alan is well known in our region for his style of plein air painting. He originally started painting houses in Frankenmuth, Petoskey and Charlevoix. He started selling prints to get his name out there. He knew that if people saw his name, they would remember it because it is unique. Now he is well known for his farm scenes and animals. Although he said he doesn’t paint horses, we know him for his cows and pigs! Currently Alan has over 300 paintings in different galleries around the state.
Networking with communities and galleries has really helped Alan’s art career. Social media is one of the most important ways for him to network. Check out his friends list, over 4,000! Social media is a great way to share the newest pieces you are working on and to celebrate when a piece sells. I know many of us love watching Alan’s newsfeed to see what he is working on next.
The advice Alan will give to artists is to find what you want to do. Think about what you know and maybe that will be what you create. For example, Alan started painting the farm scenes with memories of being at his grandparents home in the thumb. Artists should also start looking for groups that do the same medium. A lot of these groups, like us at Studio 23 have collectives and exhibit opportunities that you can be connected with.
When asked about his exhibit that he had at Studio 23 back in the early 2000s he has a very fond memory of shoes. Alan had his first solo show with us and wanted to pay homage to the people that influenced his life. For this series he asked each of those people to send him their shoes and he painted each pair. I wish I had a picture to show you, but I can imagine this scene in my mind. What a powerful statement to see their shoes and know that they made an influence on someone that was memorable. He spoke about how the families still own the paintings that he did, and one family even passes it around the siblings so they all can share the sentimental piece.
#meetourmember sessions are so fun to me. I love learning about why they feel Studio 23 is an important place to be. I encourage you to go out and create! Come to us when you are ready to find your tribe of artists and be a member of our great space.