Conversations with an Artist: Michael Cheney

Michael Cheney Skull Screenprints

We met Michael Cheney through the organization Alchemia which mentors neurodiverse adult visual and performing artists. Supporting their efforts by giving artists a platform became a passion of ours the more we got to know their programming and meeting some of the artists. Michael loves drawing skeletons, animals and other characters and scenes; screenprinting his art; and  making ceramics (we love and carry his skull bowls). 

8 Questions

Describe the moment you realized art fed your soul.
The moment I watched my older brother drawing Marvel characters, I was fascinated and inspired to pick up a pencil.

Michael Cheney Super Hero Skeleton Painting

What themes do you pursue in your art?
Humor, creativity, heart, and I love to make people laugh and smile.

Tell us about what influences the direction for your craft.
I have a love for animation and I feel it's better to laugh than cry. Classic Looney Toons, The Muppets, Dr. Seuss, fairy tales, classic 1940s-70s Disney, 1960s advertisement design and characters, and my family! All of these things influence and inspire my direction.

How has your work developed over time?
I used to use finger paints! But seriously, my art has become more clean and clear. I used to feel uncomfortable with painting, sewing and sculpting, and now I'm more confident with these mediums to express myself.

What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
My brain.

Michael Cheney Ceramic Skull Bowl

Do you collect anything?
Not really, but I do enjoy pop culture t-shirts.

What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen, read, watched or listened to recently?
Watching my fellow artists at Alchemia as they work and develop their own style and artwork.

What advice would you give to your younger self about your artistic journey?
Two things: "Just keep drawing" and "Other artists may seem better than you, but you will find my own style."

Bonus Question: Does music play a role for you while you work and/or as inspiration for your work? 
Yes, as it helps me stay focused from being distracted.

Michael has been creating art for nearly 2 decades, signing his work 100% or 100% Michael as a way to signal the art is all him, without influence of the artist teachers that provide guidance to the Alchemia members. We love this! And one of our fave quotes of his: "When I found art, I dropped my sword and shield and picked up my paintbrush.”

Feeling art-full,

~ Bonnie & Jeffrey

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