About the Artist
Michael Massenburg, an African American artist, was born in San Diego, raised in Los Angeles, and lives in Inglewood, California. He pursued his studies at California State University, Long Beach, and Otis School of Art and Design. Michael began his career at the Watts Towers Arts Center, influenced by the Watts Rebellion, the Black Art Movement of the 1960s, and the 1992 Los Angeles Uprising. He would develop his social practice through art-making, teaching, lectures, community organizing, and activism for various organizations and causes. Massenburg's interest is in historical, cultural, and personal narrative. As an American of African descent, he expanded his passion for producing work in Senegal, Cuba, Haiti, and Colombia to explore the African diaspora. Massenburg's art practice fluctuates between painting, collage, photography, and assemblage. He incorporated various materials from found objects with traditional approaches. Massenburg has exhibited in galleries and museums, completed private commissions, and worked on public art projects throughout the country and abroad.
His list of public artwork clients includes two Metro stations in Los Angeles, American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, and the Ikia Forum in Inglewood. He also receives various grants and awards, including the Art Matters Foundation in New York and the California Arts Council. He also recently received a distinction from Los Angeles DCA Individual Master Artist COLA Grantee.
About my Work
My path is painting the African diaspora experience in the Americas. This journey is about survival and salvation to empowerment. How rituals, cultural and spiritual practices transferred and evolved into our current times. My interest in historical, cultural, and personal narratives has always evoked questions about my place in the world. Inspired by my travels to Senegal, Haiti, Cuba, and Colombia have helped me connect with these communities and connect the dots.
My process fluctuates between drawing, painting, and digital into collaging and assembling. Incorporating a diverse spectrum of materials– from photographs and magazines to found objects and newsstand clippings–employs content-rich resources.
My paintings play with the boundaries of figuration and abstraction in a cohesive interaction with materials. The earth-toned works, which seem to encircle the first one, and then the other painting mode, express an intuitive playfulness of bright colors and shapes.
Photo credit: Todd Gray
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