1. Which of our three virtues do you identify with most and why?
Out of YLF’s three virtues, the one identify with most is “Spirit of Service”. As a visual artist born with the gift of creativity, I feel that it is my duty to use my artistry to promote social change and communicate complex issues to the world. I believe that we are all blessed to be a blessing, and that using my spiritual gifts to enhance the quality of life of others will only put me in a position to receive more resources, responsibilities and ultimately, more overall blessings from God.
2. Did you have a role model/ mentor that inspired you to do what you are doing?
After sacrificing a "promising" career in the field of engineering at Tuskegee University to boldly pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and Graphic Design from FAMU, I became inspired by my college professors – Prof. Harris Wiltsher & Prof. Aja Roche (to name a few) – whom all encouraged me to continue my passionate pursuit for the arts and supported me when I became the founder of the FAMU Fine Arts Society. Once I discovered my style as a visual artist, I then drew inspiration from artist Kehinde Wiley, who is known for his highly naturalistic paintings of black people, while learning about him in my Practicum of Art Management II class. As I continue to develop in my artistry, I definitely find myself emulating Kehinde’s style in a lot of my large-scale portraits that encompasses a mixture of colorful surrealism, abstract and mixed media (3D) elements.
3. What is the best advice you’ve received to date?
“Your life is like a canvas. Paint your own path and design your own destiny”
4. How do you see/ understand your responsibility to your community?
I believe that it is important to use your platform, whether it be to mentor, teach, preach, etc., to positively influence and impact others. In my case, I believe my unique role in society is to use my gift of creativity to instill hope, inspire, and to encourage people to live their best lives by confidently chasing their passion.
5. Ultimately, what does success look like to you?
For me, success is not defined by how much money you make, but about the differences you make in the lives of others. If you choose to live a life that is rewarding to God, putting the needs of others at the forefront of your operations, then your life will inevitably become more rewarding, lucratively.
6. How can people learn more about you and the work that you're doing? Do you have a website and/or SM handles you'd like to share? *
You can learn more about me at carymichael.com or @carymichael_ on IG, and learn more about the work I do through my artist collective “Artbae” by visiting artbaeonline.com or following us on IG @artbaeonline.