Stitched painting by Michelle Kingdom
Creative artist Michelle Kingdom all her life was engaged in drawings, textile pieces, paintings and photography. Working in other mediums for many years, she became known for her textile artwork, which she created to herself. Michelle Kingdom considered her embroideries to be a very private form of art that she kept to herself for many years. Any stitched painting by Michelle Kingdom begins with an idea, a sketch, or a photograph, then follows thinking, researching and planning. Right now Michelle is working on a large scale embroidery project, which consists of multiple miniature vignettes strung together. The artwork is inspired by Edvard Munch’s painting “The Dance of Life.”
“Even though I can t remember a time when I wasn’t making things, I never felt like the art world had a place for me. Way back in art school, everything was highly conceptual, ironic and clever, massive in scale, and cold. Stitching became my refuge away from all that a safe place to explore ideas without an audience or outside influences. This was around 1990 and I didn’t know anyone else doing it, let alone even interested in it, so trying to make successful textile art was incidental at best”.
For a long time my embroideries were sporadic and lacked a clear point of view. In the last few years, my vision began to focus on the tangle of interior worlds I finally felt I had something to say, even if it was private, even if it was bittersweet.
My first cohesive efforts began with the “People Become Memories” embroideries, which deal with issues of family and belonging, identity, remembrance and loss. Interpretations of collective memories were compressed and mythologized onto found silk strips. I suppose I would consider these my first successful pieces, not because they were visually or technically superior to my earlier work but because they felt meaningful and true.
Literature plays a big role for me, and I am endlessly influenced by the works of Virginia Woolf, Carson McCullers, Leo Tolstoy and Hans Christian Andersen in particular. Visual inspiration comes from old family photos, memories, art history and plain old imagination. Together, words, pictures and inner voices take on their own stories in my sketchbook, then in fabric and thread.
Michelle Kingdom lives in Los Angeles, California, with her dearest – husband and daughter.