Life Expressions

Its time to share whats happening inside.

Alaska Public Media  by Charles Wohlforth

APRN Crossing Cultures

Photo by RadioKAOS via Wikimedia Commons 

APRN Crossing Cultures

Alaska Native cultures are growing and changing, like all living cultures, by absorbing and repurposing the ideas and forms from our diverse world of different kinds of people. We’ll talk to artists in different media who have mixed and mashed indigenous influences with other strands from around the world.

Channel 11 Features Mask Maker "Drew Michael"

Alaska Public Media 2014

Alaska Dispatch 2013

Photo by  Loren Holmes

You are here 'Aggravated Organizms' art show confronts Alaska's most pressing diseases

Laurel Andrews August 2, 2013

On a cloudless Sunday morning, Artist Liz Ellis eyed a four-foot mask leaning against the wall in her home. Carved from bass wood by collaborator Drew Michael, Ellis was preparing to paint it with an abstract representation of one of Alaska’s most prevalent diseases.

She had already painted seven masks, with diseases ranging from diabetes, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis, to fetal alcohol syndrome. Three remained – HIV, mental illness, and alcoholism.......

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Anchorage Press 2013

 Photo by Douglas Reynolds

Facing What Ails Us

By Matt Caprioli  Thursday, August 1, 2013 12:15 am

For two artists dwelling on death and decay for the last year, Drew Michael and Elizabeth Ellis seem to be pretty happy people. They crack up over stories and bounce ideas off each other, sometimes completing or changing the other’s train of thought. Their first collaborative effort, “Aggravated Organizms,” includes 10 masks, each four or five feet tall, representing the 10 most pervasive diseases amongst Alaskans, including cancer, diabetes, and alcoholism. Michael carved the masks and Ellis painted the abstract (and breathtaking) interpretations of what a crippled cell looks like under a microscope....

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Juneau Empire 2013

     Anchorage carver Drew Michael stands in front of his work at the Alaska State Museum Feb. 2.  Amy Fletcher / Juneau Empire           "Tina's Little Cheeks," by Drew Michael, a piece inspired by Ricky Tagaban. Materials include basswood, acrylic, ostrich feathers, halibut fish skin, wire, raccoon dick, synthetic sinew, yellow cedar bark, turquoise, copper wire, furniture tacks and stain.   Amy Fletcher / Juneau Empire

Photos By Amy Fletcher

Revealed By Masks

by Amy Fletcher February 14, 2013

In introductory text for “Agayuliyararput: The Living Tradition of Yup’ik Masks,” a major Alaskan exhibit that toured the country in the late 1990s, the traditional purpose of Yup’ik masks is loosely described as a way to make “the unseen world visible.”

Working in the same art form, Anchorage carver Drew Michael has brought this idea into his own time, in his own way, with a body of work called “Life Expressions,” currently on view at the Alaska State Museum. Like masks of the past, Michael’s pieces are personal expressions that tell a story, one that is designed to be shared; a theme of the exhibit is “It’s time to share what’s happening inside.”.....

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First Alaskans Magazine 2012

 Photo of the article in First Alaskans Magazine.

Alaska Dispatch 2012

Suzanna Caldwell | Oct 31, 2012  

When it comes to the work of artist Drew Michael, he's all about breaking the rules if it means finding a voice. Michael’s masks, steeped in Alaska Native traditions, use a blend of traditional and some very non-traditional materials. Wire and candle wax. Spruce and seaweed. Baleen and Barbie dolls.

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Sparks and Ashes

Photo by Drew Michael

Sparking Creativity: Native Mask Carver Drew Michael

| Author:

For today’s exclusive Sparking Creativity interview, I caught up with my good college friend Drew Michael. Drew is an acclaimed carver and Rasmunson Foundation grant winner working out of Anchorage, Alaska. Read on to hear how he’s bringing the rich tradition of indigenous mask carving into the 21st century.
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Anchorage Daily News

Drew Michael awarded an artist project grant of $5,000

2012 Rasmunson Awards

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Photo by Daysha Eaton

Mask Carver Puts an Urban Twist on Alaska Native Tradition

This piece was aired on July 4th 2012 showcasing Drew Michael as a contemporary Alaska Native mask carver blending tradition and modern design in an urban environment. 

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