Michelle Leivan » About the Artist

Michelle Leivan

Unconventional portraits and prose that will change the way you see humanity

Michelle Leivan - Biography

Currently I am working on several projects. All of them art related. I have been working on a painting series called “Being My #Selfie” which explores the selfie social media phenomena with images and prose that will culminate in a show and a book next year. I am also developing a Visual Art Business Basics course which I will be teaching at Washburn University during the fall semester 2014. Finally, I am working to grow my home based business Art Print Express which keeps me hopping.

What do I do?

 I paint people and write about them as I see them. I don’t mean that I literally see people with yellow skin, what happens is I tune into is their energy, personality and mood. Whether I am painting a subject sitting in front of me live or working from a photo that I have taken, I look beyond the obvious and reach for the secret message which can be found just under the surface.

How do I do it?

I draw my insights not only from personal experience but from the chosen subject. What I discover is an emotional state, an attitude or a flickering thought that reveals the humanity within the person being painted. Filtered through my brush, developed with symbolic color and then described in stories each personality and secret becomes a complex narrative that stretches past what can be captured by a click of the photographers shutter or our own vivid memory.

I think that it is wrong that people think that the only good art is art that mimics reality as if we don’t already have the ability to do that through photography. There are so much more to each of us than what is skin deep that can be revealed, appreciated and understood in an expressive portrait. In addition, we rarely know what the artist was pondering while creating it. It is like coming in on the last half of a movie, missing the motivation of the characters. Throughout history, we have been missing these stories! 

Why do I do it?

My mission is to explore the depths of the human race, see beyond the superficial and emerge with insight with images and words that will delight and captivate people willing to pause and accompany me on the adventure. 

This mission permeates everything that I do in life whether it is painting, writing, teaching or helping other artists develop their product line with prints. It all involves seeing beyond the obvious and bringing meaning to our lives.

Are you a people watcher? Do you seek understanding of your fellow man beyond the superficial?

Join me in my adventure of paint, color and prose. I guarantee you will be delighted in the revelations join my email list and I'll keep you updated on all the new stuff!

What do they say?

“Your 'selfie period' shows deep emotion and anguish and joy and all sorts of stuff. Like Goya after Napoleon invaded Spain (well, Goya probably didn't paint joy then).” – Chuck Wagner

“Lovely - the painting and the explanation. Thanks for sharing all of that. Inspirational and meaningful.” - Cheryl Unruh

"What a wonderfully subversive use of color" - Don Lambert

"Michelle is a wonderful artist and very professional to work with." - Cheryl Logan

"I love having a Leivan, it brightens up my entire entryway" - Carol Turner

"With provocative perspective and an unconventional palette, artist Michelle Leivan successfully captures the viewer." - Agora Gallery

What have you done?

I am an artist, author and entrepreneur, educated at Fort hays State University.  I have been distinguished as the featured visual artist at the Kansas River Valley Art Fair, Topeka Jazz Festival, and the Aaron Douglas Art Fair, and has been nominated for the Kansas Governor’s Art Award in the visual arts category, selected by SouthWind Gallery as an Artist to Watch in 2012. My work has been selected to hang in the Kansas State Capital building and in the U.S Embassy Residence of the Ambassador in Asunción, Paraguay.

My work has been featured in solo shows and exhibits at the Manhattan Arts Center, Arts Council of Topeka and Topeka Performing Arts Center. I also has exhibited in several juried internet competitions and in Soho, New York. Her work is represented in the Ellis County Historical Archives, State of the Art | Kansas  and Paint Topeka fine art books and in several corporate and private collections including the permanent collection of the Mulvane Art Museum.


Selected Exhibitions


2012 "Artists to Watch 2012" - SouthWind Gallery Topeka KS
2011 "Visions of the Flint Hills 2011" - Buttonwood Art Space Kansas City KS
2011 "Feminine Desert" - Solo Show Bosco's Topeka KS
2011 "Kansans Paint Kansas" - Topeka Art Guild Topeka KS
2011 "Sunflower Cirque" - Warehouse 141 Topeka KS
2011 September Art Walk - Tinkham Veale Gallery Topeka KS
2011 "Kansas 150" - SouthWind Gallery Topeka KS
2011 "Doodle It Downtown" - First Place Winner Topeka KS
2010 "Wonderland in White" - Topeka Art Guild Topeka KS
2009 "Artists' Choice" - Topeka Art Guild Topeka KS
2009 "Sea to Shining Sea" - Topeka Art Guild Topeka KS

2009 Featured Artist – Solo Show Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Sanctuary Topeka KS
2009 April First Friday Art Walk – The Art Collective Group Show Topeka KS
2009 “Rites of Spring” – Topeka Art Guild Group Show Topeka KS
2009 March First Friday Art Walk – The Art Collective Group Show Topeka KS
2009 March – April Classic Bean – Group Show Topeka KS
2009 "Feminine Desert" - Sun Resorts Tanning and Fitness Solo Show Topeka   KS 
2009 February First Friday Art Walk - The Art Collective Group Show Topeka   KS 
2009 "Kansas Wildflowers" – Featured Artist Gorham City Hall Solo Show Gorham KS 
2009 January First Friday Art Walk - The Art Collective Group Show  Topeka   KS 
2009 "Flower Power 2" - SouthWind Gallery Group Show  Topeka   KS 
2009 "Art in the Abstract" - Topeka Art Guild Group Show  Topeka   KS 
2009 "Kansas Wildflowers" – Featured Artist Topeka Art Guild Solo Show  Topeka   KS 
2009 "Artists' Choice" - Topeka Art Guild Group Show  Topeka   KS 
2008  "Blooming Good Time" - Topeka Art Guild Group Show  Topeka   KS 
2008  "Far Away Places" - Topeka Art Guild Group Show  Topeka   KS 
2008  November First Friday Art Walk - The Art Collective Group Show  Topeka   KS 
2008  Aaron Douglas Art Fair  Art Fair  Topeka   KS 
2008  "Celestial Correspondence" - New City Café One Person Show  Topeka   KS 
2008  "Kansans Paint Kansas" - Topeka Art Guild Group - Jurried Show  Topeka   KS 
2008  October First Friday Art Walk - The Art Collective Group show  Topeka   KS 
2008  November First Friday Art Walk - The Art Collective Group Show  Topeka   KS 
2008  Homes for the Holidays Collective  Fundraiser for CASA  Topeka   KS 
2008  "Gates and Portals" - Topeka Art Guild  Group Show  Topeka   KS 
2008  December First Friday Art Walk - The Art Collective Group Show  Topeka   KS 
2008  "Mulvane Merriment" - Mulvane Art Museum Silent Auction Topeka   KS 
2008  Lawrence Art Guild Holiday Art Fair  Group Show and Fund Raiser  Lawrence  KS 
2007 15th Anniversary Show - SouthWind Gallery  Group Show Topeka   KS 
2007 Aaron Douglas Annual Art Fair  Featured Artist Topeka   KS 
2007 Fiesta Mexicana Art Show Group Show Topeka   KS 
2007 Governor Sebelius’s Secretary of Appointments Office  Solo Show Topeka  KS
2007 Vintner’s Cellar Group Show Kansas City   MO 
2007 Waldo Pizza Group Show Lee’s Summit   MO 
2007 Starbucks Group Show Kansas City   MO 
2007 Dunn Bros Coffee Group Show Overland Park  KS 
2007 Figuratively Speaking - SouthWind Gallery of Topeka Group Show Topeka  KS
2006 Aaron Douglas Annual Art Fair Art Fair  Topeka KS
2006 Agora Gallery Group Show Soho NYC
2006 "Celestial Correspondence" - Arts Council of Topeka Solo Show Topeka KS
2006 Governor Sebelius's Conference Room Group Show Topeka KS
2006 SouthWind Gallery of Topeka Group Show Topeka KS
2006 Fiesta Mexicana Art Show Group Show Topeka KS
2005 TPAC “ Topeka Jazz Festival”  Featured Artist Topeka KS
2004 Kansas City Artist Coalition Art Auction Auction Kansas City  KS
2004 Topeka Performing Arts Center “Grape Escape” Auction Topeka KS
2004 Topeka Arts Council “Mardi Gras” Auction Topeka KS
2003 Topeka Collegiate “A Night on the Town” Auction Topeka KS
2003 Topeka Arts Council “Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!” Auction Topeka KS
2002 Topeka Collegiate “A Night to Remember” Auction Topeka KS
2002 Topeka Arts Council “Fat Tuesday" Auction Topeka KS
2001 True Art Gallery Solo Show Topeka KS
2001 Modern Day Masters - http://www.moderndaymasters.com Group Show Online  Internet 
2001 "Feminine Desert" Manhattan Arts Center Solo Show Manhattan KS
2000 Nominated for 2000 Kansas Governor's Artist Award   
2000 Kansas River Valley Art Fair - Gage Park  Featured Artist Topeka KS
2000 Virgo-2000 - http://www.GemArt.net Best of Show Internet 
2000 Thursday Live - Downtown Life Demonstration Topeka KS
2000 ERC Designers Show House Picked by Designer Topeka  KS
2000 The Art Source - http://www.TheArtSource.com Group Show Online Internet 
1999 Kansas River Valley Art Fair - Gage Park  Art Fair Topeka KS
1998 Kansas River Valley Art Fair - Gage Park Art Fair Topeka KS
1996 BFA Exhibition - Hays Arts Center Solo Show Hays KS
1996 Student Honors Exhibition - Moss-Thorns Gallery;  FHSU Senior Honors Commendation Hays KS
1995 Peach Blossoms - Fort Hays State   University Campus Solo - Installation Hays KS
1995 Creative Arts Society 1st Annual Scholarship Exhibition Stone Gallery; Gold Scholarship Received. Hays KS
1995 Student Honors Exhibition - Moss-Thorns Gallery FHSU Scholarship Received Hays KS
1994 Pink Passion - Fort Hays State University Campus Solo Installation Represented in the FHHS Archives Hays KS
1994 Student Honors Exhibition -   Moss- Thorns Gallery FHSU  Group Show Hays KS
1994 10+1 Student Art Show - Hays Arts Center Group Show Hays KS
1992 Go Go Gadget Student Show - on the Mall Group Show Hays KS

Selected Collections

American Investors Financial Corporation, KS
Mize Houser Accounting Firm, KS
Isidro Dunbar Home Collections, KS

Cenk & Donna Colpan, Turkey
Jose Sinde, Spain
Nicholas & Maureen Mandrak, KS
Marc Campbell, KS
Tish Rogers, KS
Janine Klingman, CA
Guy & Lisa Giroux, KS
Todd Reeves, KS
Jorge Saiz, KS
Dan & Carolanne Turner, KS
Mark & Cynthia Buck, KS
Ami Hyten, KS
Kendra Tinsley, KS
Duane Bond, KS
Aaron & Karen Anderson, KS
Cheryl Logan, KS
Karen Hiller, KS
Kim & Joe Mason, KS


Education

B.F.A. Painting Fort Hays State University
FHSU Dean’s Honor Roll
National Dean’s List

Michelle Leivan - Biography