Michael Massenburg

Collage artist Michael Massenburg's work has a figurative style incorporating drawing and painting into the creation of images of everday life. His paintings tell stories that reflect the culture and history of his community. His involvement with art began with his childhood curiosity. He was captivated by trying to figure out how things were put together -- whether it was a "painting, sculpture, a tree or some kind of color."

Growing up in the shadow of the Watts Riots of 1965 had a profound influence on Massenburg. He is still intrigued by the world's perception of Watts and wanted to show in his art that the uprising could have happened in any community faced with the same set of conditions.

Massenburg is essentially sel-taught, onlyworking as an assistant on certain projects to determine a particular technique such as working with three dimensional materials with Charles Dickson or painting with Richard Wyatt. The artist works in the night where he finds stillness and calm, the air undisturbed by the cacophony of daily life. In his search to telll some of the many stories that haven't been told, Massenburg works with whatever is at hand but often he must hunt for certain materials to capture one of the stories he needs telling to a broader audience.

Currently he is creating a new series of works about his family roots in The South, looking into how the history of that region relates to the present in an area thousands of miles away. He thinks the pieces will evolve more into assemblage or scultures while still including drawing and painting.


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