Michelle was born in Wiltshire and studied textiles and surface pattern at Somerset College of arts. This is where she first experimented with latex as a medium for her art. After finishing she moved to London where she worked for 12 years as a commercial graphic artist, it was then she had the idea of using latex to creating something unique in the art world. “The idea came in a flash of inspiration while I was working on a latex outfit for myself”
Michelle’s work is highly individual, each portrait is meticulously constructed using sheet latex and the artist has literally carved a unique niche with her work, which not only appeals to art lovers but to rubber fetishists too. The exact proportions of cut latex shapes are layered to create instantly recognisable portraits with a nod to pop art with expanses of colour.
Through her bold imagery, Michelle examines both empowerment and vulnerability often by fetishising iconic personalities in her distinctive pop art style. Her work is confronting and has the power to shock and move the viewer, a feeling that is increased further by the use of a restrained palette, seducing the viewer into a world of disconcerting beauty. By using popular but somewhat taboo BDSM themes, her artworks exude sexual association, but never touch on obscenity.
Her influences include Robert Mapplethorpe, Ellen von Unwerth, Pop Art, Bauhaus, Erte, Aubrey Beardsley and Cornelius Makkink and to name a few, but she finds inspiration from everywhere, from Torture Garden to Typography! Michelle continues ”My current series of portraits are a culmination of my study of the medium and my experiences as a latex fetishist. My work has developed around the limitations and nature of the material resulting in a very distinctive use of positive/negative space and colour, each piece becoming defined and fetishized via its latex conceptualization”
She takes on commissions and provides a highly individual portrait service working closely with her clients to create something that both client and artist can feel passionate about.
Michelle’s most successful creations to date are her QE1 and QE2 portraits. They depict Her Majesty sporting two subversive looks. The first sees her in full latex hood with collar and crown, the second in just the collar and crown. The prints have Michelle’s trademark minimalist style and have made it onto the front cover of Skin Two, an internationally distributed magazine.
Michelle has sold pieces worldwide and is gaining widespread attention for her work, exhibiting in many prestigious galleries including the Saatchi Gallery, London; La Luz De Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles and Sin City Gallery in Las Vegas. Michelle has also had many solo shows including “Consensual Kink” at Lilford Gallery, Folkestone during the Folkestone Triennial.
Photo by Tim Wilcox