Michelle / Artist
Michelle Zeidman is an artist and traveler, inspired by nature and all that is wild and free.
Here, she talks about using her art to advocate for the environment and her proudest moment in the creative journey so far.
Tell us a little about yourself and your creative background:
I grew up in California, drawing, painting, and running through the tall grass that surrounded my rural home in what is now wine country. As a child, I was shy and art was my refuge. I was fortunate to study art in school from kindergarten up through my senior year of high school, where I earned an International Baccalaureate certificate in Art & Design.
I majored in Environmental Studies in college and then earned a Master degree in Public Administration and a Master in Urban Planning—all from the University of Washington. It wasn’t until I was traveling around the world in 2014 & 2015, that I rediscovered my passion for creating art.
When and how did you come up with the idea for your shop, Modern Nature Art? My shop was born a few years ago in response to inquiries from friends and family about how to buy my art. The shop started with just one thing—a 2016 calendar of my line art wildlife drawings. Over the years, it has grown to include originals, art prints, and now a coloring postcard book.
Describe your connection to nature, and how it influences your art: I grew up in nature—picking wildflowers, basking in the glow of California’s rolling golden hills, chasing waves on its rocky coastlines, and watching birds and growing food in the backyard with my mom. In my late teens, I hiked, kayaked, caved, climbed, and backpacked avidly in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains and across the West.
I am inspired to create art so I can be close to nature all the time—even when I’m in my tiny condo in Seattle. My art is a tribute to all that is wild and free. I hope that my drawings and paintings inspire others to fight for the protection of wildlife and for the conservation of wild places.
You recently took part in #The100DayProject, a free global art project that is intended to nurture and sustain the creative spirit through small daily acts for 100 days. What was your project and how did it go?
I did my first 100 Day Project in 2017: #100daysofModernNatureArt2give. I drew wild and endangered animals and gave away an original or print of each drawing via Instagram. My art now lives in 12 countries and 17 states. I was surprised by the outpouring of love for my work. It took me nearly 200 days to complete my project, and over that time, my drawings improve mightily.
This year my project is #100daysofNaturescapes and includes drawings, paintings, and hand-fabricated enamel and silver jewelry.
Do you have creative habits or rituals that help you stay focused? I try to draw, paint, or make jewelry every day. Often I create before work in the still morning light. I bring art supplies wherever I go, from my SUP on Greenlake to the mountain tops of the Cascade range, and especially when I’m traveling in other countries.
What is your proudest moment in your creative journey so far? This year has been a series of proud and surprising moments for me. One of my paintings was accepted into a juried art show in Texas. A series of my drawings and watercolors were licensed by a Letterpress company for a line of greeting cards. An artist I admire invited me to join a small works show in California. Multiple shops sold my 2018 calendar and are selling my postcard coloring book. And I’ve had three solo exhibits in local shops so far this year! Plus a great gallery in Bow, Washington just took on my entire line of enamel and silver jewelry. I hardly believe all these things have happened in under a year, and I feel super grateful for my fans and supporters.
Are you creatively satisfied? Creating keeps me satisfied and happy. When I bore of one type of artistic expression, I pick another. And I’m quite content right now with my mix of drawing, painting, and silversmithing.
What are you most excited about right now? I’m getting very excited about a kayak camping trip we’re taking in Canada’s Broken Islands. It’s a new destination for me and I just love exploring wild places!
Finish the sentence...
My guiding value is generosity
I lose track of time when I’m drawing or painting.
I can read “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card over and over again.
Yosemite NP holds a special place in my heart because it was the first place I spent much time in a wild place and I was awestruck by the magnificence of its soaring granite rock faces and surging waterfalls.
I believe that wildlife and natural places should be protected and cherished