We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Velliquette and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, what makes you happy? Why?
I believe happiness is feeling we generate internally that can arise in all sorts of situations. I could be having a tough day or be in a negative state of mind and in the midst of it all find some sense of lightness and joy. That said, there are circumstances where I’m inclined to feel innately happy. This usually happens when I’m in my art studio. Just making my work generates a lot of happiness for me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I make elaborate sculptures out of paper. My work is entirely hand-made with just craft knives, scissors, glue and other paper-crafting tools. Most of my techniques are self-taught. I’ve learned to make the things I do simply by trying new things, seeing what works, and what doesn’t, and by just persisting with the process.
I’ve been making and exhibiting my work for more than 20 years, so I often think that is a success in its own right. Artists generally have to forge their own paths. There are often long stretches of time when you’re not getting any visibility and you just have to believe what you do is worth doing.
As far as the art world goes, I’ve had some success. My sculptures are in many private collections throughout Texas, including in Houston, and I have work in the collections of the Art Museum of South Texas and the San Antonio Museum of Art. I exhibit my work with the David Shelton Gallery on Montrose.
When individuals encounter my sculptures I’d like them to feel a sense of wonder and inspiration. I like to give folks a generous visual experience—to have something impressive to see in terms of shapes, details, color, texture, and overall sense of craftsmanship. I want to convey the same sense of joy that I experience making them.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One my favorite things to do with artist friends is to spend the day gallery and museum hopping. Houston is one of the best art cities in the country. It has top notch galleries and some of my favorite museums in the world including— The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The Contemporary Arts Museum, The Menil Collection, The Moody Center for the Arts on Rice University Campus and the Blaffer Art Museum on the U of H campus.
Also, a quirky museum a lot of folks probably don’t know about is the National Museum of Funeral History. It’s really quite something!
When I need art supplies, I stop at Texas Art Supply on Montrose. I have never been to a better art supply store anywhere and the folks there are super friendly!
There are so many phenomenal eating options in Houston. Hands down one of my favorites is the thali lunch at Maharaja Bhog.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This past summer of 2021 I had the opportunity to be a resident artist at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft—a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to advancing education about the process, product and history of craft. They are one of the Houston’s jewels. They have provided a platform for over 20 years for artists to make and exhibit their work, while at the same time offering a first-hand opportunity for the public to see and experience all that is happening in the contemporary craft world. Go check them out!
the David Shelton Gallery, Houston, TX.