By Prudy Taylor Board Eagle Editor
Michael St. Amand is an ambitious man. He defines his purpose quite succinctly by saying, “My commitment is to make the world a better place through my art.”
St. Amand came to Pine Island this past July from Connecticut and New York. He now lives on Patterson Court in St. James City and explains his decision to move here by saying, “I felt really comfortable here.”
St. Amand, 34, has an impressive background. He studied at the Art Students League in New York City, the Wooster Art Center in Danbury, Connecticut and apprenticed under potter Howard Haas in Redding, CT. Now the director of the Gilded Gar-Bage Gallery in Naples, FL, St. Amand is continuing to work and indeed has been prolific in the period since he arrived for he’s completed at least six pieces.
He’s had one-man shows at the Ward Lawrence Gallery in New York City and many art galleries in Bridgewater, Danbury and New Milford, CT. His work has also been shown in group exhibitions in the Naples Art Gallery in Naples, FL, in San Antonio and Fort Worth, Texas, the Weather Holt Gallery in Washington D.C. His work has also been shown in group exhibitions in the Musee De La Commanderie D’unet, Bordeaux and in the Grand Prix de Paris in La Sorbonne, Paris, France as well as the George Fraser Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand.
St. Amand’s work is intriguing. He does not temper the color, but uses it as it emerges and this gives his creations a feeling of almost uncontrolled energy and raw power. He combines a number of canvases mounting them on one another to create both spatial and emotional impact.
Because he has something to say, a voice, he tackles social issues with each and his works have dealt with Aids, Tianamen Square, drugs, relationships, facades.
Animated and restless when he speaks, St. Amand is very positive and focused when he discusses his work. Of working with multi-canvas panels and mixed media, he says, “Whatever it takes to get the job done. I like mixed because I am not restricted. I can do whatever I want to do.”
He’s done many things—taught school, been a rock singer, a chef, a carpenter, a disk jockey. And he’s certainly not modest when he says, “I don’t mean to sound cocky, but no matter what job I had, I did a good job. Art is the only thing that does not bore me and I am committed to it.”
St. Amand has come a far distance since his childhood when, as a loner, he began drawing comic book characters. He feels he still has a long way to go and a lot more to say.
“An artist’s job is to inform and to educate, not sit on the sidelines. To participate in life. For me, it is not just about painting, but about being creative in every aspect of my life.”