Posts Tagged Michelle Fusco

Interview With A Mad Artist

Last week, I got a chance to catch up with one of my favorite artists, Michelle E. Fusco (aka Libertina Grimm).  She has a unique talent for creating enchanting visions of enigmatic musicians.  Her subjects in the past have included Alice Cooper, King Diamond, Jim Morrison and Dani Filth.  She manages to capture the magniloquent beauty of these artists in a way that is both memorable and uncanny.  Recently, she has turned her attention towards rendering the image of Michael Jackson in a respectful and deeply loving manner.

What was the moment you discovered you had artistic talent like for you?

I was about 11 or 12 & mostly I remember being happy to have made my father proud of something I did, because he was very hard to please.

Why do you choose to create art?

Once I discovered I could do it, it became my strongest mode of self-expression, and a very effective escape from troubles, stress and reality.

What artist or artists do you feel the deepest connection to?

I feel the deepest connection(s) to Mozart, Michelangelo, Rene Magritte, Michael Jackson, and Stephen King.

You have created art based on many well-known musicians over the years. What makes you settle on a certain subject to work on?

I am only truly inspired by performers that are “outside the box” and seem to have something speaking through them. Like they’re mad to create or something… I’ve explored music in search of these true artists, to whom creating their music is truly an extension of themselves and their lives. Once I find someone who seems to be REAL in that fashion, I feel I must portray them in some paintings, as if somehow to express my appreciation for their efforts in being real artists.

What about Michael Jackson, your current subject, do you most connect to?

My first thought on this one was ‘what DON’T I connect to?’ . I had a difficult childhood and this leaves one feeling like it was stolen away. I identify with Michael’s eternal child-like qualities and attempts to create his own dream world around himself, and stubbornly (needed to) live there, despite the ‘real’ world’s repeated attempts to tear it down. He had to live in his own reality because no one really understood him. I definitely connect to that. The feeling of isolation, creativity needing to be shared with the world, but yet no one truly understanding it.

Have you ever felt as if you created something that was perfect?

I have never created something perfect. I sometimes have thought I was working on a perfect drawing or painting, or at least one I would be satisfied with, but invariably, somewhere along the way, I end up feeling like I let myself down yet again, didn’t do as well as I had hoped to, & must set my sights on the next project, because apparently the next one is always the best one.

What is beauty?

To me it is some sort of otherworldly aura or essence that is shocking in it’s perfection, whether it’s Dani Filth as a flawless Gothic vampire, or Michael aspiring to the heavens, the wish to create something with a perfect effect is there and is beautiful. Like Michelangelo’s “David”. Perfection of form and grace, but also with a deeper meaning.

What environment are you most comfortable creating in?

I always work at the same old work-desk with a great stereo so I can hear my subjects. I always must create a music program to accompany each project, to create an appropriate ambience/atmosphere. I’ve been doing that since childhood and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t draw anything without the accompanying soundtrack.

If you could no longer create art, what would you do?

If things were as they are now and I could no longer create art, I would die. But if I could have any career as a replacement, like if I had a genie or something? Then I would be a dancer.

What about raising chickens appeals to you?

Chickens are great! They’re funny and sweet, and generally misunderstood. Probably my favorite thing about them is that if you raised them from babies, they’re your friends for life. I have full grown hens that still insist I’m their mother. They bond for life if treated right, which of course makes them excellent pets! I also like to rescue them from bad situations with people who don’t understand and give them proper shelter.  It can be very rewarding. One of my older hens, Ivy, was left without food when her owners moved and couldn’t take chickens to their new place. They just abandoned her. I found her wandering in the road. I took her home and now she’s one of the family.  Chickens need more people who understand that they are intelligent, compassionate creatures worthy of respect and love.

For a look at more of Michelle’s art, check out on her Facebook page or her website www.doors-of-perception.com.

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Chapter Two-Transformation

Picture By Michelle Fusco (Libertina Grimm)

To start a new life, to be reborn is a gift.  He was gone, forgotten to an afterlife of memories and sunshine.  Living out his days in a blissful, candy-coated purgatory.  He could have stayed forever, but something compelled him to take his beauty and share it again with the world.  His understandings would melt away in his hands if he did not connect them to the world.

All at once, he knew that his hideout was only a weigh station for the soul.  He served his time, shed all the excess scorn and terror that had weighed on him for so long and learned how to breathe again.  The breath he drew in, once composed of bitterness and smog, was filled with life purity and essence.  He was new.  An infant in the frail body of a man.

The past no longer hung around his neck.  As he walked the chilly streets of Manhattan, peering at the billboards that once echoed his name, he knew what it was like to be alive and part of the world.  The world he breathed in tasted clear.  The filth and struggle of a world drowning in its own tears no longer beat on his brow.

He looked in store windows.  He did not long to buy or own or consume, he simply wanted to know.  An electronic store filled with gadgets to capture the past on screens.  A clothing store promising connection and love.  A restaurant screaming dreams of fulfillment. There was no sweetness in the pitch anymore.  He only felt curiosity and wonder.  He was so swept up in the race towards what our world believed to be meaningful; he lost sight of the truth within himself.

To walk the streets of New York City without wearing it’s pace and frustration was divine.  He could notice its push and pull, but not be swept away by it.   As he walked into the middle of Times Square something in him knew to fear its power.  He remembered what it was like to think that the energy of the city belonged to him.  Once, he believed that they were his.  Only later did he understand that he was theirs.  And that was when he began to die.

But, this death of his was a thing of the past.  He was focused on the light now.  He had found something, now he wanted to share something.  It was part of a greater process.  He was a vessel that now belonged to The Ocean.  He felt the subways pull beneath his feet.  His eyes closed and he could feel the motion.  As if he wasn’t but still was.

As he emerged from the acrid, putrefied heat of the subway station into a cold sea of noise and light, he tucked his hands into his hooded sweatshirt.  All of the times he had vanished under a surgeon’s knife in order to hide from them or from death flashed through his mind.  So much agony, but finally he had been created anew.  The final surgery last year, the one that brought him back to the way he looked in the 1980s, had allowed him to finally, once and for all accept himself.  The pale flesh of sorrow had vanished.  The veil of terror had been lifted and his soft, boyish innocence had returned.  Science was not the answer to his pain, but it allowed him to recapture a small piece of the self that was lost to the mob.

New York City was beautiful in all of its stunning chaos, but he knew he could not last here.  Eventually, it would become his skin and the unendurable sadness would return.  He needed to go somewhere where the illusions weren’t so powerful.  He needed to start small.  After all, this was his period of spiritual rehabilitation.

While trailing around the Port Authority Bus Station to keep warm he came upon his next move.  He’d just go somewhere.  He would take the next bus that was leaving.  Wherever the universe might take him.   He bought a ticket for some town named Zenith somewhere in Ohio.  It left in 15 minutes.

He walked through the oddly designed belly of the station. Past all of the portals that looked like they were created to service Martians on their way to Venus.  Past the lost souls stumbling through the stupor of an endless night.  Past the families huddled around their bags on their way to a some distant, sleepy Somewheresville.  Past the shimmering advertisements filled with happy people eating perfectly symmetrical meals and fighting the never-ending battle against hair loss.  Past all of the needless suffering and itinerant wandering.  Onto a bus disappearing into the darkness.  Into a reawakened future.

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