Life Expressions

Its time to share whats happening inside.

Artist Biography

Drew Michael

My life started in Bethel, AK in the third month of 1984.  I was born a premature twin and was not expected to survive.  We overcame the obstacle of early birth and found our way into the foster care system shortly after. After being in and out of foster care we were adopted by a loving family and our lives changed there after.  My parents had many other foster children and later adopted three girls into our family.  Our great parents gave us all a second chance to live.  We grew up in Eagle River, AK allowing our culture to be close by.  I was able to learn about my people and eventually started my career in mask carving. 

My father, in an attempt to connect with me and encourage my creative side and cultural exposure, signed me up for a mask carving class in 1997 with Bob Shaw and Joe Senungtuk.  This was the beginning of my mask carving.  I learned some of the basics of history, usage of tools, and wood working techniques.  I took on a job with the Alaska Native Heritage Center while in high school and was able to enroll in some of the carving classes provided through the high school program.  I had the great opportunity of working with Kathleen Carlo early in my career.  I was able to learn and practice more of my tool usage and wood working skill with a great carver.

 While I was learning and practicing my craft I was searching for my own style and niche in the carving world by studying the masters of the native woodworking artists.  I was not looking to copy or mimic any style I observed, but was looking for craftsmanship displayed in the final pieces.  I would spend many hours looking at a piece thinking about the design and process it would take to create a piece.  I took my thoughts and applied them to my work and learned how to manipulate my work into what it is today through the process of trial and error. 

My main goal through all of this was to vent all my ideas and emotions into some sort of form.  The process of creation has always been a sort of therapy for me.  My desire to achieve and improve has brought me into my own style and niche.  I continually look at objects and other art forms for inspiration.  My interest in mixed media and form have helped me explore my design and cosmetics in each piece.  I look forward to continuing my growth in creating new and exciting forms through my therapy of woodworking.

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