A studio visit with Michelangelo Lovelace

I first met Michelangelo Lovelace in the spring of 2014. His home studio in Lakewood is chock full of paintings—they cover every wall and are stacked 5 deep in his garage and basement studio. Lovelace has been painting for over 30 years, making as much time for the studio as possible. His works range from quick miniature vignettes to dioramas and large-scale urban landscapes; while the city of Cleveland is his most profiled subject, he also has series that respond to political events around the country, such as the Rodney King Riots, Hurricane Katrina, and Black Lives Matter protests. There are also more personal and whimsical reflections: scenes from a cruise vacation, suns, angles, fireworks, erotica.

A studio visit with Michelangelo is very personal: his canvases tell his life story. It’s all out there: struggle, celebration, loss, joy, friends, family, violence, pain. It’s inspiring to see someone so engaged in reflecting on their own experience and the world around them, so dedicated to their practice that it doesn’t matter what else is going on or who is watching, they will continue to paint and paint and paint.

I love these two items that Michelangelo has up in his studio. The first is an excerpt from an early review of his work, criticizing a lack of refinement in his handling of paint and depiction of figures, pinned up as a motivator to constantly improve. The second is an inspirational note to self: “If you stay ready you ain’t got to get ready! Word. I’m ready!”

--Rose Bouthillier

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