Artistic Excellence 2013 | Honorable Mention: Michael Siegel


Michael Siegel, Etude in Blue, oil, 11 x 17.

Michael Siegel, Etude in Blue, oil, 11 x 17.

What inspired your winning entry? After having watched the flat Dutch countryside pass by my train window while on my honeymoon, I had the thought of treating a still life much as though it were a landscape. I stretched the canvas, thinking length rather than height to exaggerate the feeling of breadth and space. Keeping all the objects quite short and extremely low on the canvas, the whole painting takes place on the flat horizon with only the bottle to break the plane—just the way a windmill would seem to spring up and tower above the flatness of the land in Holland.

Where did you study art? I had the privilege of studying under renowned painter David Leffel both privately and at workshops throughout the country, which eventually landed me as David’s assistant at the Art Students League of New York for his summer workshops. That experience prompted me to begin teaching classes myself, which has become a passion of mine.

How would you describe your style? Everything old is new again.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you? William Shatner is my cousin. But I don’t get better deals on airfare.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? My parents encouraged me to leave the University of California, Berkeley, to follow my passion and study art.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be? President of the Ron Howard Look-Alike Club.

What’s the most meaningful recognition you’ve received for your artwork? Becoming the youngest artist on the roster of Spanierman Gallery was a thrill. Receiving an invitation to teach workshops at the Art Students League of New York was also meaningful on a very personal level. Many of my heroes have taught there. I studied at the League and was an assistant there, and it’s also where I met my wife, Kyla.

What galleries represent your work? Spanierman Gallery, New York, NY; Haynes Galleries, Nashville, TN, and Thomaston, ME; Waterhouse Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA.

This story was featured in the December 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art December 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!