Artist Michelle Fusco once received an email from Doors guitarist Robby Krieger congratulating her on her paintings and saying that Jim Morrison would like her work. Looking at Michelle’s paintings, especially her paintings of Jim Morrison, one would agree with Krieger’s assessment. Her paintings contain a vivid dark energy that just about leaps off the canvas at you.
Fusco’s subjects are rock ‘n’ roll stars like Jim Morrison, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, and KISS, with a dark theme running through them. Her multi-medium (colored pencil, acrylic paint, charcoal, pastels) approach produces vivid paintings that go just beyond portraiture and gives the subjects a larger than life quality that befits the subjects. I recently had the opportunity to talk with her.
DE: Which artists influenced you?
Michelle Fusco: Michelangelo, René Magritte, Norman Rockwell, Frederick Remington, William Blake.
DE: How did you decide on rock bands as a subject ?
Michelle Fusco: It was kind of decided for me… when I was in high school, I drew The Monkees, who, at the time, were doing a 20 year Reunion or something. Anyways everyone freaked out (it was the first time I’d tried drawing seriously) and I liked how everyone seemed impressed, even my strict, mean father seemed a little proud, and I’d never seen that before, so I decided to keep doing it. I even sold my first two full-scale paintings of The Monkees to one of my teachers.
DE: Was Jim Morrison the first rock icon you started drawing?
Michelle Fusco: Unless Davy Jones is a rock icon. Unless any of The Monkees are considered icons, haha, then Jim was the first. I had to leave home before I could paint Jim though, that was too extreme for my father. He tolerated The Monkees, but just the idea of someone like Morrison would make him fly into a rage about “long haired, hippie drug addict rock stars”. In fact, part of my interest in Jim was probably fueled by my father’s negative reactions. What does he hate so much about him?, I remember thinking… Hmm… this requires further study… when you delve into what made Jim tick, it is fascinating. And so wise beyond his years. In my opinion.
I wish I could explain the vastness of the inspiration that Jim has brought me. I wish I could put to words the weird feeling of patterns and “coincidence” that all seem to make sense.
DE: How did you know when you had found your style?
Michelle Fusco: I’m not sure I really have. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, and sometimes I don’t remember exactly how I did parts of my drawings. I think maybe it’s a right-brain trance or something.
DE: How do you choose your subjects?
Michelle Fusco: I believe in the Universal Mind or Zero Point range, isn’t that what Nostradamus called it?… Some sort of energy field where all thoughts gather and people can have shared thoughts/visions and stuff. Or some kind of subconscious Universal Understanding. I’m sure there’s proper names for it, I just don’t know them, but anyways. All my subjects seem to tie into it somehow, into a pattern, where one seems to lead to another, or I follow “signs” or patterns, and find new subjects. But there is some sort of bigger pattern, that I can’t even always see, I just follow the hints. I’m one of those people who sees A LOT of “coincidences”.
DE: Thank you Michelle!
If you would like to purchase a print of Michelle Fusco’s “End of the Night” (or any of her other artwork or to commission a painting) visit her personal Facebook page or Visions of the Electric Poet or The Diary of a Mad Painter.
Originally published November 1, 2014.
Ms. Fusco has started a Go Fund Me Campaign so she can have a years worth of art supplies to keep her art going. To see more of her recent work and to donate visit Michelle’s Starving Artist Fund.