Featured Artist Michelle C. Mendez

“Since I was 5 years old, I wanted art in my life. In high school, I would ride my bicycle with a folded 18” x 24” newsprint pad on my rat trap to the Old Schwamb Mill for figure drawing classes.”

I am a practicing visual artist.
I’m a newbie to Arlington, but not the area; I graduated from Lexington High in 1979. Since I was 5 years old, I wanted art in my life. In high school, I would ride my bicycle with a folded 18” x 24” newsprint pad on my rat trap to the Old Schwamb Mill for figure drawing classes. Now I live here with my boyfriend, a fellow art portfolio classmate from Lexington High!
After graduating from BU College of Fine Arts with an MFA in painting under John Moore and Harriet Shorr, I focused on painting urban cityscapes, mainly from rooftops around BU and in Fort Point Channel where I lived and had a studio. Later, for 6 months, I worked and lived in Scotland on the Isles of Iona and Mull and painted landscapes there.
After my son was born, I worked as an art teacher at Canton High School, and for one year studied Chinese art and poetry through Primary Source with a one-month tour of China. I also earned my black belt in Taekwondo with my son. The school’s Sensei allowed me to draw and sculpt small clay figures during the mixed martial arts classes while I was recuperating from an injury. This led me back to the exhilarating experience of drawing figures.
Figures seem to dominate my work: figure drawings done at Scott Ketchum’s Sandpaper Factory studio and Cambridge Center for the Arts appear in my paintings. I prefer working from observation, creating collages or paintings with my figure drawings, and landscapes. Combining landscape with figures is a way to express my ideas, experiences, and feelings about life and relationships. Post graduate courses include abstract collage with Melissa Meyer, JSS in Castellana, Italy with Israel Hershberg, Bridgewater State for art education licensure, Caumsett Landscape with Gilliam Pederson-Krag.
Currently, I have been digging through old sketchbooks and paintings, finding fodder for new work. Now retired, I have time to dig deeper into the creative process, to experiment and allow ideas and visions to percolate.
Sometimes I teach at my friend Amy Solomon’s Art with Amy school in Brookline Village. I enjoy teaching workshops. I’ve been working with another friend, Jamaal Eversley, who runs Bold & Beautiful’s creative workshops and exhibits – he recently interviewed me on InstagramLive to discuss my painting “Safety Net.”
I have had solo exhibits of my Sherlock Series at the Peace Gallery, Newton Free Library, The Firehouse Galleryin Newburyport, and the Trinity Church Gallery in Concord MA. Since the pandemic, I have not had solo shows but have enjoyed getting back to exhibiting in group shows with the Arlington Center for the Arts and with the Bold & Beautiful exhibits around the Boston area.
It’s an honor to be invited as a featured artist.

The Art of Michelle C. Mendez

"Safety Net"- Collage and acrylic on canvas, 24" x 18" From the Brain Injury Series about the struggles and healing from a mild traumatic brain injury

“Gaia” - Oil (water soluble) on canvas, 18” x 24” In progress, allegorical painting based on figures drawn at the Cambridge Center for Arts and en plein air landscapes done in Italy and Scotland

“Portrait of Alec”- Oil on board, 11” x 8 1/2” Portrait Study of the model

"Followed: Led to the Heart of Mystery” - Oil, oil Stick, oil printing ink on tar paper, 17” x 24” From the Sherlock Series, film stills of Basil Rathbone with self-portraits mis-en-scene

“Agnes” - Oil on canvas, 12" H x 40" W Studio painting from small paintings and sketches done on the Isle of Iona

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