Teen Interview #2

Michael Anderson, 15.


Meet Michael, he has joined our team as Co-Founder.

What school do you go to?

Bellarmine Preparatory High School.

Describe your most favorite piece.

I really like my self-portrait. That one was really fun. It’s a close-up of my face. I feel the size helps create an uncomfortable feeling which I wanted the viewer to feel. It took like a solid day and a half, in the fall. And I was like, I have these crayons, and I want to use them. There were like thirty-two colors I think, and I used almost all of them. I used the warm tones for the highlights, and cool tones for the shadows and that was kinda cool because I’ve never done those things before.

What mediums do you work with frequently? Do you hope to use more?

I use pencils a lot. Just because they are really easy to access and it’s really nice to just erase because you’re not going to fuck up all the time. And I want to use crayons more because I like the way it feels. And you can do a lot more physical stuff. And like get really in to it. But with pencils, you must be really detailed, and it’s kind of like charcoal, but it’s like colored charcoal and it’s not soft pastels, because you can rub out pastels more. So, it’s not permanent, and it’s softer feeling than pencils, and that’s why I like them.

When did you start creating art?

I started about two years ago. I started in May of my 8th-grade year. I started doing that because I’ve always liked art because I thought everyone just really loved art as much as I did, so I thought that was a normal thing. So, I was like what’s special about it? Then I was like shit bro, this is something, so I did it for a while. Since everyone was doing it for a long time, I was like yikes. I have to be speedy fast, and so I started drawing like every day and started to catch other people.

What’s been the message that’s been most constant in your work?

An overall theme that I follow is seeing where a medium takes me and seeing what bits and bobs of me are expressed. Because I’m only 15, and I don’t know my life. But through art, I figure it out. You know people are like ‘oh art is about expressing myself,’ but I can’t do that if I don’t know what to express. And so I kind of make stuff randomly and look and realize that a part of me is there.

TAM has done many themes on issues that most museums wouldn’t touch. What other art would you like to see curated?

So. As an Asian American, there’s rarely… if you look up Asian art you’ll see anime and cartoons, but I want to see fine art and them changing the game. But that doesn’t really exist, and it’s just like Asian Americans are erased… a lot in society. They’re also not in the art world prominently. Also like, my culture is a big thing to me, and I want to see more Asian American artists. And growing up it was kind of weird not seeing a lot of role models because everyone was white, and when I was starting to do art, I was like, “Can an Asian American/mixed person even be an artist? And a lot of Asian Americans are erased from society and was just kinda like shit bro what am I getting into?

“Because I’m only 15, I don’t know my life. But through art, I figure it out.”

Where in Tacoma, would you say is the most inspirational, in terms of fueling art?

Downtown Tacoma and Pacific Ave. And 6th Ave. The avenues of my life.  They are cool because you see a ton of art with the graffiti and stickers and the people. And it’s like that’s all really influential because you’ll just see people and I’ll have my sketchbook out and I’ll just take sketches of that. And that’s just really fun, because a little piece of Tacoma and a little piece of me create something.

What demographic, or description do you think of, when you think of people who visit art museums?

Old white women. They like museums.

Lastly, how can Tacoma help young artists circulate their own art into the art scene?

Art competitions would be fun. Not necessarily competitions but something that you put your time into, and somehow, it’s shown off. Also, it’s just like, I know for me it’s constantly hard for me to think of ideas, and there needs to be a backing for it. So, a prompt would be cool. Also, it’d be fun to have more art shows in Tacoma, internships, more opportunities, for teens. I know a lot of things are focused towards adults that already are established. If someone just organized a teen art mural, that would be fun. Just to show off someone’s work. For me, my art was just sitting in my closet, and I would love for other people to see. Even though I make art for myself, I want to share my thoughts and messages.

Follow Michael’s instagrams @m.p.anderson & @themichaelanderson