I just knew that this was going to be a LOVE STORY.
Nearly three years ago, a handsome, nervously excited man strolled into my art studio, and I just knew. I knew that this man before me was on the brink of falling madly in love.
As Mitch Siegel and I met for his first private art lesson at The Art Studio NY, he excitedly flipped through his tiny 3″ x 5″ sketch book filled with colored pencil drawings of the afterlife and other unknown dimensions of life. It became instantly clear to me that Mitch wasn’t a newbie to art. In fact, Mitch could no longer deny his inner-maddening itch that begged him to return to the fulfillment, sense of purpose, and passion he had known 25 years earlier from his days of studying art at Pratt Institute, one of New York’s most prestigious universities of art.
In our first art lesson together, Mitch massaged his paintbrush doused with acrylic paint onto a larger-than-usual blank canvas. His eyes sparkled, his mouth arched like a cheshire cat, and right before me, I watched Mitch fall in love.
A wise teacher always told me that happiness is an “inside job”. Mitch tapped a wellspring of love and happiness that had always been inside of him but had been laying dormant. Mitch was seeking an inner-aliveness and authenticity that we all long for, he was hungry to embody and express his true self. In a matter of three private art lessons, Mitch journeyed home within himself to the greatest love of all. Get inspired as you read my interview with Mitch Siegel, and learn how YOU can fall in love, too. Love is for everyone, and so is art.
What need has art fulfilled in your life? What problem does art solve for you in your life?
Since I had stopped using my creative energy, I felt like I was dying inside. Returning to my art gave me several vital things: a form of self-expression, a sense of fulfillment, inner peace and renewed joy. Returning to my art brought purpose back to my life. Art allows me to actively do and be involved with what I’m most passionate about. Art answers the questions of who am I. It brings all of the pieces of my life together, art gives me a sense of wholeness and a clear identity as an artist. When people ask me what I do, I can now say proudly say, “I am an artist”.
Sum up your experience of your art classes at The Art Studio NY in six adjectives.
Inspiring, euphoric, exhilarating, loving, safe, and life-changing.
Tell me about yourself. How did you become interested in art?
I have been creative since childhood, and I began drawing and painting at a very early age. After high school, I attended Pratt Institute and studied Graphic Design and Advertising. I had a successful 25-year career as a Creative Director in the advertising industry. After the 25 years, I dusted off my easel and found my way back to painting as a form of self-expression. The last few years have been the most rewarding time of inner-fulfillment for me.
What was going on in your life at the time that you chose to take an art class at The Art Studio NY?
I was searching for a way back to painting after many years away from it, much due to the demands of my career in advertising, a 24/7 industry. I essentially told myself for dozens of years that there was no time for me to paint. It seemed private lessons would be the only viable option, so the question became: Where do I find a reputable and trustworthy place in NYC that also wouldn’t break the bank? I found The Art Studio NY online. I was very impressed with Rebecca’s paintings and delighted to learn that she also taught privately. After just a few art classes with Rebecca Schweiger, TASNY’s Founder, I was artistically “back” and totally hooked on painting again.
It quickly became apparent that The Art Studio NY was a vibrant and fulfilling venue where self-expression was highly regarded. When I began working with Rebecca privately, I was ecstatic. She was a total inspiration. Her method of teaching pours out from her heart and soul. We had an outstanding time painting and in almost no time, we also became fast friends. Her support and encouragement eventually led me to the decision to share a studio with another TASNY artist. I’ve since had a 3-month exhibit of my work at The Mercedes House in New York City, which was covered in the press, and I built a website exhibiting my artwork.
Art classes are scary for many people. What advice do you have to those that are afraid?
Fear is natural whenever you try something new. Cast it aside! Jump in, don’t hold back, and try one-on-one classes for awhile.
As a father of two children, how do you think art can positively affect our children today?
Art gives children the chance to exercise their creative abilities and build positive feelings of inner self-worth.
Tell me about your own artwork and the emotional rewards of being an artist.
When I paint, I become particularly focused and in tune with my inner art voice. It also feels wonderful to instinctively be able to use my God-given talent. The talents which God gives to each of us is His gift to us; what we do with those God-given talents is our gift to Him. When I use those gifts, expression seems to pour out of me. Being an artist means I have a true and honest voice that I can reflect on canvas. I trust that voice and have faith that it reflects a powerful message. Being an artist also reflects my independence from traditional corporate America. I can make a living and not be dependent on an advertising agency or any other corporate entity. I can dare to dream my dreams and make them happen apart from society’s or anyone else’s expectations of me.
Do you ever feel that your artwork isn’t “good enough”, and if so, how do you respond to that feeling/thought?
I feel like I am on a continuum, a journey, a pilgrimage, and my art is always maturing. When I do feel attacked with feelings of negativity, I try not to dwell on them. I remind myself that I have faith in my artwork and that it continues to develop.
What are the greatest benefits you’ve received from art and art classes?
To trust my instincts, there are no mistakes, just do it, and to imagine a future with my art at the center of my life.
To learn more about Mitch Siegel and to purchase his artwork, visit: siegel-art.com
See Mitch’s most recent paintings for sale at : http://open.artsicle.com/Mitch-Siegel