Michelle Concetta is a creator from the US currently based in Saudi Arabia. Prone to escapism from an early age, she finds comfort in the one thing that grounds her to the Real—creating art and shaping her world to fulfill her aesthetic yearnings. Self-taught, her talents cover a broad spectrum, but of late contemporary collage has come front and center, refueling her passion for the medium. Her analogue and digital collages as well as her mixed-media photography have been featured in gallery showings, art publications and collectives in the US and internationally.
Concetta utilizes her own photography as well as found and digital imagery to create surrealistic collage that make unexpected connections between line, form, space, and color. She explores these relationships and aims to both engage the viewer in the spontaneous process of finding meaning within the visual landscape and arouse a touch of mystery—this synergy she ultimately desires to achieve is the driving force behind why she creates. In her work, she touches upon themes of spirituality, magic and conjuring, the exploration of the human psyche, confession, art as therapy, and the surreal.
Interview with Michelle Concetta
Surrealism Today: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Michelle Concetta: Growing up!? Still figuring out that bit. My younger years were fraught and I lacked the foundation and security to actualize but I have always been a creator focused on artistic expression.
ST: What artwork are you most proud of, and why?
MC: The work I haven’t yet completed! It is a sign that I’m on the right path and the dream is alive.
ST: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
MC: The solicited kind. Because I’m open to it.
ST: What is one thing they tried to teach you in school that you knew immediately was wrong?
MC: That boys will be boys.
ST: Who is the one person, dead or alive, that you would like to have dinner with and why?
MC: Lars Von Trier. I want to discuss the cinematic themes he explores.
Surrealism Today: Where is your favorite place?
Michelle Concetta: My dreams. Yes, I am a total escapist.
ST: Who are your biggest influences?
MC: Me, myself, and I.
ST: What can’t you live without?
MC: The essential things invisible to the eye. Antoine de Saint-Exupery said something to that effect.
ST: What is your dream project?
MC: To create an exhibition of my project, I Only Wanted to Dream. Art, sculpture, interactive installations, and media combine to share a story of grief and trauma with the intent to move beyond victimhood through ritual practice.
Surrealism Today: What’s your favorite artwork?
Michelle Concetta: So many but a mixed-media piece created by Julia Soboleva, comes to mind. I will describe it to you. It features a behind with a hand pulling down black panties. On the left buttock it says “Being” and on the right cheek it says “Nothingness”. I adore it.
ST: What is currently on your playlist?
MC: I haven’t been listening to much music these days when I am alone. I just returned with my guitar, which has been neglected for far too long. I am planning on picking it up again and making my own music.
ST: What are your last three Google searches?
MC: NFTs, Porto art scene, and the definition of bollard, which BTW is a British word for a post.
ST: What gives you life?
MC: Love & Art.
Surrealism Today: What is your superpower?
Michelle Concetta: Empathy.
ST: What is your Kryptonite?
MC: Seeing people in pain.
ST: If you could visit any artist’s studio, whose would you visit and why?
MC: Natalie Huth, a Berlin collagist. She is an amazing artist living & working in an edgy, progressive city!
ST: What was the last thing you bought?
MC: A patio umbrella to shield my roof from the scorching summer sun in Arabia.
Surrealism Today: What ideas are you currently pondering or questioning?
Michelle Concetta: Mortality and the question of making sacrifices in the moment for the future.
ST: What do most people believe that you do not?
MC: That the older you get the harder it is to change.
ST: What is one thing you believe that most people do not?
MC: That astrology is legit.
ST: What imaginary place would you love to visit?
MC: I visit them every night in my dreams!
ST: What is your favorite thing in the world, and why?
MC: Traveling with my partner and daughter when the stars align—it is a way for us to be together and share a love of exploration. That is, once I get over my initial anxiety and stress in preparation for travel!
ST: If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be, and why?
MC: Xeno and Oaklander, a synth and video duo. They are an experimental electronic band and really cool! I would love to get out of my comfort zone and create artwork for their videos and/or album covers.
Surrealism Today: What is next for you?
Michelle Concetta: Keep on keeping on.