Growing up in New York City has all the advantages of the most prestigious institutions and the pitfalls of the hardest ghettos. Regardless of which area you called home, you were a few blocks away from making your dreams come true or being swallowed by them. Navigating that thin line is never easy, and in that search is where Michael Alan has found his voice. He speaks for those who lived fast and died young, a delicately woven tale for the strong ones who continue to survive. A familiar story for those kids, who are now grown, that chose to stay out late and create.
Michael’s talents were recognized and encouraged early by his parents, by his peoples, and art instructors alike. In the same streets where Hip-Hop and Punk were born, he traveled with an arsenal of art supplies, friends, and a need to contribute. Filling up sketchbooks in between recording sessions, he developed a body of work enough to get him accepted into SVA and Pratt Institute, studying drawing, painting, and anatomy. A sharp contrast to the nights of dodging trouble, promoting shows, working with Fat Joe, Wu, Group Home, Black Moon, Tommy Ramone, and The Bordums to just name a few performing and making music, he continued to create works of art that were independent of his street fame. He noticed what the academic courses were missing and began to host open 12 hour drawing sessions with live bands, live models, and performances, which has grown into what today is known as Michael Alan’s Living Installation. It has stated trends, inspired others and has changed the city were life Drawing has become a thing to do. Alan pushed and many followed.
The Living Installation is a multidisciplinary free form happening where the models/performers slowly transform their pose to the music created by Alan while the attendees create/ or vibe for hours caught in the scene. During session, the models are drawn on, painted, and maneuvered by Mr. Alan, who himself is part of the installation. Throughout the last ten years the show has moved throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan, sharing unique experiences with thousands of participants. This exposure has earned him much praise and press, with attention to his many shows and accomplishments, including The New Museum, The New York Times Video and Print, The Drawing Center, The Huffington Post, Art21, teaching courses at SVA, and representation with Gasser Grunert Gallery.
Reaching into the far regions of every borough, Michael Alan remains true to his New York Routes a still active All City Art Activist for twenty years running, and continues to bless the landscape as an under grown icon. He has forged two paths that must never cross, the division between raw street and his Fine Art. Where other artist exploit similar means to further their gallery career, and later disassociate themselves with the culture, he maintains and continues to give to the city and amaze art enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds. He is holding on to something that does not exist anywhere else in nature, and if let it go, will never return. Being entrusted with a gift that allows others to peel back layers of consciousness, to heal, to get lost in a world that mirrors our own, he reveals the color that is alive in the hard reality of inner city life.
To view Michael’s Work