With music streaming from her garden studio in Snohomish, WA, artist Michelle Salazar stretches, paints and transforms canvas into color-rich, multi-textural odes to the physical strength of the human body and the weakness of the human heart.
Salazar grew up on Whidbey Island, attended Cornish College of the Arts, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1996 from Western Washington University. Her art is informed by the rural, working class tenacity of the people she experienced growing up in a small community, and the diversity and beauty of the LGBTQ community she embraced upon moving to the Seattle area.
Since 2003 Salazars prolific body of work shows extensively around the Puget Sound, the West Coast and Internationally. Her work, often borrows from the Cowboy archetype to explore how humans cultivate a veneer of toughness to hide vulnerabilities. A close examination of her figurative oil paintings reveals repetition of symbols, text and numbers forcefully carved and scratched directly into the canvas, giving each piece depth and complexity. Each stroke or mark has a subconscious and obsessive charge.
Salazars paintings are erotic and intimate, portraying such recurring themes as courage, loneliness, strength, rebellion, love and heartbreak. Much of the appeal of her work is in her ability to show not only the tender and passionate sides of the heart, but also the painful and flawed sides.
In addition to being dedicated to her art, Salazar firmly believes in helping to keep non-profits alive and flourishing. She has donated to the Seattle's Men's and Women's Chorus Just Art Auction, and the Annual Gala, Lambert House, PONCHO, Children's Hospital, and Camp Ten Trees. Most recently she has contributed paintings to the Human Rights Campaign and Equal Rights Campaign annual auctions.