Meet the artist - Michelle Cicala

michelle cicala concord community of artists
Michelle Cicala

This month we are featuring interviews with the artists who are in our upcoming art show - sight/unseen - at The Artist's Den in Concord, May 21-26, 2016.

What do you like most about living in Concord?
I love living in Concord! I moved here 3 years ago from South Florida, which was a great place while my husband and I went to school, but it was never our element. We love the Bay Area's beautiful weather, gorgeous hiking, camping, and all the other amazing things this area has to offer. Concord has a very down-to-earth vibe, with tons of great parks, a beautiful downtown, and wonderful people. I am so inspired by the artists I have met in Concord. They are passionate about their work and about growing our artist community. CCofA, CAA, and EBAG have all been so supportive of me getting my art out to the public, and help me feel like part of the growing and vibrant Concord art scene.

Lotus Tiger
What medium do you plan to use in your piece for this show?
I am using acrylic for this show, which is typical for me. However the subject of my piece is different than what I usually paint - I am doing a portrait. I love the feeling of doing something that is out of my comfort zone. I paint until I get to a place where I feel a little afraid to keep going, and then push through the fear to the other side, resulting in something I love. The experience of working through my fear and expectations is very therapeutic for me, and it's essentially why I paint.
Are there any exciting techniques or mediums you've learned about recently?
I usually work with smaller sized canvases, but I recently participated in a show with EBAG that required a much larger scale of work. I used a 30” x 24” canvas for the first time in a long time, and I had a blast! I really enjoyed painting on a big scale and love how the artwork came out. These larger pieces are currently on display in the Aspen Building at John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek. I stepped out of my comfort zone and it payed off, I won’t hesitate to go big in the future.

Lord Surya- Sun Lion

How long have you been creating art and who helped you get started?
I have always been an artist, although it has ebbed and flowed at times. My high school art teacher Mr. Smith was wonderful and very influential for me as a young artist. He created a supportive environment that nurtured his students' confidence and creativity. It was a classroom full of art, music, laughter, and no judgement, which I craved at the time. It was a truly special time and place that helped me survive my high school experience. Today I am inspired by my fellow artists - hearing about their process, experiences, and struggles helps me so much. There are times as an artist that I question myself - why am I doing this, what’s the point? My fellow artists help me gain perspective and remind me that I make art for the sake of art, and that these questions are part of this beautiful process.
What advice would you give to a new artist?
It would be to let go of judgement. There are times when I feel creative and inspired, and times when I just don’t. I have learned not to fret or put pressure on myself when I am in a creative lull. When I give myself permission to take a break and wait until I am feeling the creative flow again, I come out of it much quicker feeling refreshed and inspired.
See more of Michelle's work in her Etsy shop and her Society6 store.


  1. Wonderful article and artwork, Michelle!

  2. oh my goodness Michelle, your smile is so brite! I agree with Kim, too! :-)


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