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Roland Mikhail

For sculptor and painter Roland Mikhail, art is the medium between the conscious and the unconscious. In the studio, his tools are guided by the depths of his own intuition and creativity, curating pieces that kindle the souls of those who view his work.

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Season 1 · Sculptor & Painter

Roland Mikhail

As the son of Egyptian immigrants and the sole artist in his family, Roland was always drawn to illustration and art. At thirteen, he dreamt of becoming a comic book artist, but, at the time, those dreams felt miles away. Roland ultimately attended art school in New York, with plans of pursuing illustration – but that soon changed. In reflecting on his art education, Roland remembers creating a self-portrait during his sophomore year that marked the shift from illustration to painting and drawing. For him, the art school experience was formative, leaving its painted fingerprints on his heart, mind, and soul as he developed his craft.

For sculptor and painter Roland Mikhail, art is the medium between the conscious and the unconscious. In the studio, his tools are guided by the depths of his own intuition and creativity, curating pieces that kindle the souls of those who view his work.

The thought-provoking responses that Roland's work often inspire are mirrored by long, contemplative processes that span months and years. He never embarks on a piece with a defined idea or message; for him, the process of creating pieces is an exploration, where he dabbles in the language of the unconscious, dream, myth, metaphor, and symbols. Intuition and creativity propel his improvisational process, where “all the energy and time condensed into an image has the possibility of eliciting something within the viewer.”

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At the very foundation of Roland’s pieces is a deep interest in psychology, and, more recently, child psychology. When he was only nineteen, Roland was introduced to depth psychology. This field of study, rooted in the shared facets of humanity, allows Roland’s pieces to function as a filter with the conscious mind on one side, and the unconscious mind on the other. Roland says, “It ends up being a conversation back and forth with the veil of the image.” As a result, his paintings and sculptures are equally universal as they are personal.

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Roland didn’t always admit and embrace his love for sculpting, even though it is a natural passion for him. A black belt in Jiu-Jitsu, Roland loved the idea of the movement within sculpture and his work in the Jiu-Jitsu academy served as an intermediary between painting and sculpting. For years, Roland suppressed his interest in sculpture until he felt stuck in painting and, abruptly and subconsciously, decided to work with stone. Using his dreams, which are “a great source of understanding and personal development” for him, Roland then naturally fed his love for sculpting without abandoning his paintbrushes.

 

Roland’s reverence for dreams and his subconscious mind continue to light his path, and, one day, he dreams of creating public art.

 

Because he creates art for viewers’ psyches and souls, accessibility is important to him. Roland, who has great respect for the plurality of voices and experiences, hopes that everyone can participate in the conversations his psychologically-based art can create. Until then, he’ll continue to chisel and paint, making artistic dream worlds that balance between the unconscious and the conscious, fantasy and reality. Together, with his viewers and collectors, his pieces evoke feelings, experiences, and relationships that parallel who we are, and who we hope to become.

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