Interview With Artist Michelle Kruger

Please share a bit of your journey to becoming a professional artist. Is this a dream that began in childhood or one that came later in life? Can you share a story from childhood that might hint at your future in the arts?

I come from an Art family. My father was an artist so I grew up with the smell of oil paint, and every family drive included abrupt stops for my father to sketch something he found interesting in the landscape. He was resident artist at the Banff Springs hotel, taught art, won best artist at the Calgary stampede and has his paintings hanging around the world. My brother was also a well known artist before his passing 3 years ago. 

I never knew a time when I wasn’t drawing or sculpting with modelling clay. My brother and I would spend the first part of the morning taping pieces of paper together and the rest of the day drawing worlds, people and vehicles until we both ended up in the middle where our make believe worlds would collide in some kind of make believe war. I guess it was our version of a video game. My Art teachers always assumed I wanted/would be an artist, but honestly I never really thought about it as a child. Art wasn’t something I did, it was who I was. It found it’s way into everything I enjoyed in life.

What medium (s) do you like to use to create your art? How did your gain your skills - self taught, working with a mentor(s), instruction?

I like both oil and acrylic (or a mixture of both) on canvas. I live in the country in an 107 year old church and love painting outside when I can. Through the years natural organic material ( seeds, grasses, moss even sand and bone) have found it’s way into my paintings. I also mold and sculpt paint, manipulating it in ways to make it “3D.” 

As I said earlier my father was my greatest inspiration, although I guess I’m basically self taught.

How would you describe your artwork? Where do you find inspiration for new pieces?

I guess I answered part of the question above. I would describe my art as a bit paradoxical. I love smooth fluid lines, soft calming colours and painting in pearly white and minimalistic style. But I also love dark, masculine colours, aggressive textures and bold statement pieces. I did a series of paintings with skulls hidden in colourful textured pieces and I’m probably best known for my completely black paintings that owe their appeal to the simplicity of the most stylish shade mixed with interesting texture.

Life inspires my work. I paint white paintings when I feel agitated - it frees my mind and calms me. I paint red when I’m happy ( it’s my happy colour). I guess emotion plays a huge roll. Nature, beautiful shapes and dreams influence my work as well. I’m not a big sleeper but I have vivid dreams.

What is hardest about being a professional artist for you personally? What do you love, the part that comes easiest? What is the highest moment in your career so far?

The hardest part is being your own critic. I’m like the performers you read about that even after decades in their craft they still throw up before they go on. It’s the most natural thing for me to create but to then have people pay you to do it puts a feeling of extreme pressure to give them the best for their hard earned money. I guess it’s a bit of imposter syndrome.

The part I love best is seeing the reaction from my audience  I love people. I have had people cry when a piece touched them, women empowered by purchasing a painting as a reward for a milestone in their life. A piece commissioned for a beautiful home they carefully designed and it turns out exactly what they wanted. I have had my art put into music videos, stage work and in multimillion dollar homes, but the highest point of my career? The almost accidental beginning… When I was painting for enjoyment and my dad asked me if he could takes some of my pieces to his art show to sell for me and I laughed. He sold every piece I gave him. That was my proudest moment. My father believed in me before I did.

Putting your artwork out to the public is a very soul baring act. Do you ever struggle with self-doubt or hesitation? Do you read public reviews or do you avoid them?

Yes it’s a struggle. Every piece isn’t good enough for me. I want them all perfect. I have big shoes to fill having a successful father and and brother in Art. I am pretty good with criticism, it’s something I don’t take personally. Art is so very personal. You can never think you can please everyone as an artist. We create because we need to. YOUR audience will find you - The people who relate, are moved or fall in love with the creation. I am human, so criticism stings but it is part of what makes you look at yourself and improve.

Readers would love to know something about your upcoming "ALINEMENT" Art Exhibit on the 9th - a little teaser on what they will enjoy at this event.

If you like diversity and authenticity this will be the show for you. In the past few years, I lost my brother to addiction, I had my art stolen from a gallery in a huge art heist and I ( like everyone else) has been enduring the stress on life and career with the pandemic. All that emotion is poured out in the pieces created for this show. Difficult times magnify honesty and that is the theme of “Alinements.”

What would you most like the public to know about you and the work you create? Can you share a favourite quote on art and its importance to have in our daily lives?

I love what I do . I put my heart and soul out there. My hero David Bowie said it best:

David Bowie speaks about artistic integrity and taking risks. “It’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfill other peoples’ expectations. They produce their worst work when they do that. If you feel safe in the area that you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth, and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”

I live by those words.

Tues. Nov. 9th at 5 p.m. -  LuvnGrace Presents "ALINEMENT" Art Exhibit by Michelle Kruger at the Hollywood Theatre.  RSVP and Vaccine passport required. For more info please go to