Artist Michael Alan is as sincere an individual you’ll ever come across-which seems implausible being as he was born and raised in New York City. His lack of pretense and humble manor belies a quickly rising status. The only child of inventive, and supportive parents and raised in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the city, Alan was encouraged to explore his creative nature from an early age. Not one to look for handouts, Michael is a self-made success. Having put himself through SVA nightschool (School Of Visual Arts) by working as a club promoter (anyone remember Michael Alan’s Playhouse?), the artist answers to no one. It is precisely this independent spirit that drives him to create, and further his goal to make the world a better place through art. The concept of a Utopia, though lovely, may not be realized in our lifetime and Alan, by making people feel a bit better, perhaps putting a smile on their face and forcing them think when viewing his dramatic, and wholly original work is what makes this selfless artist so unique amidst the clawing, cloying and at times unpleasant business of the art world.This isn’t to imply that Mr. Alan is giving his work away. In fact the last couple of years have seen his works move into the double-digit price range as galleries and museums around the world are quickly catching on, and he is represented by Gasser Grunert Gallery in the Chelsea art district.
In viewing Alan’s drawings and paintings, the elegant lines he puts to paper and canvas are deceptive in their complexity. The works are beautiful at a glance but deserve to be examined closely and at length to realize and appreciate the well thought out details hiding in every piece. Alongside these, Alan’s fully evolved experimental living art pieces known as Michael Alan’s Living Installation are carefully orchestrated and get bigger, and grander in scale with each and every new installment. If you have yet to witness the spectacle of The Living Installation then I suggest you do so as soon as possible. The first time I was watched it I left literally mesmerized. Beginning with a haunting and sometimes humorous soundtrack engulfing the performance space- usually composed by the artist-the first model is in place and Mr. Alan goes to work. It’s not enough for Michael to turn others into art. He methodically transforms a human into human art by applying layers of paint, tubing, fabric, plastic, copies of his works and other materials he needs to complete the transformation. Before the first model is complete he begins work on the second while continuing to work on the first, and then he introduces a third model and so on, simultaneously working on all of the models and the space. In talking about his work Alan says, “I work in five levels like a gray-scale or the variations of tempos on a music album. From a line drawing to a slightly muted drawing to a more colorful denser work, to a collaged, multi-media layered painting, I then bring the work to the public, construct it live on my friends, and finally, take this Living Installation, de-install it and drag it back to my studio and rework the scraps, the photos, the energy of it into the next piece. This is my full circle, there is no order to the circle, which leaves me constantly open. The work is about energy, and drawing from the world, on the world, on people, and then taking parts that had humans activating the work, and reworking them into a new piece. The work in one sense is continuous. A show goes up, comes down, a circle goes round and round.”
As an artist myself I can say with all honesty that each time I watch a Living Installation I am filled with divine inspiration, and I want to be a better and more creative artist. I’m also hit with a touch of envy, as I always leave feeling that I’ve been a part of something ethereal. Alan’s greatest achievement is that he provides a hallucinogenic atmosphere and allows us to trip on his talent, by the end of the show we are all a participant in our own way. Michael Alan’s journey to make the world a better place happens one event at a time, which is then taken apart and put to work.
See work from “Wedding/Vampyr Circus.”