michael villarreal

website: www.michaelvillarreal.com
instagram: @lilgoopy

About the artist.
When I was growing up, both my parents worked at a moving company from which they brought home discarded objects to the house they built with their own hands. This home, interior and exterior, was not designed to fit an explicit aesthetic, but all aspects of the house were in harmony and completed by the objects brought into each space. The house became a repository for abandoned domestic American culture— beds, couches, appliances, and other products made it into the home in irregular but frequent intervals.

In my work, I think about the home and the objects that complete it. Through the amalgamation of house elements, I make environments always in flux reminiscent of a yard combine with its interiors. I want these environments of “subjective ruins” to relinquish memories giving a chance for re-discovery.

The objects I make are re-contextualized through quirky sometimes bulbous, sometimes animated shapes, to allow them to transcend their original purpose. Through this, I foster a new narrative for each piece while maintaining the basic visual familiarity. A transformation of material creates a visceral response to the objects being depicted such as a bunkbed or garden hose. I want to solicit this response to items I find or know, manipulate or construct, and to create an environment through the relationship of these objects.


Who or what are your artistic influences and how have they impacted you or your work?
Artists whose work I take interest in are Rachel Harrison, Jessica Stockholder, Kathy Butterly and many more. I have this book called “Pop Objects” highlighting the still life tradition of Pop Art that helps for inspiration . Also, I’ve been teaching Art Appreciation which has been a great way to look back on art history.

A strong art community is also a big influence. Lincoln and Omaha have great communities of artists who inspire me to keep pushing and challenge myself in the studio.

Do you have any “rituals” that you have to do before, after, or during your art making to keep you creating or put you in the mood to create work?
My mood to create is constant most of the time. I try to work on a few things at a time to keep it interesting in the studio. Over the summer I worked on several works on paper along with several portrait commissions. Also, looking at artwork whether online or in different cities gets me in the mood as well.

Keeping up with art opportunities also helps. Having exhibitions lined up give me something to work towards.

How does your material or choice of medium impact your work?
I try to use material used to build homes. For example, in order to build my sculptures I stack and adhere isolation foam sheets to carve form. The foam is then coated with plaster or joint compound then painted. Sometime the sculptures need wood for structural support.