Artist Stephanie Michaud was born and grew up in St. Paul, MN. After attaining her B.F.A. in 1992, she married and went into graphic design for over a decade.
As a life-long struggler with severe depression, and after a dozen years as a graphic designer I eventually retreated to comfort in being creative with my hands which I had done all my life until ironically, getting a job using my talents. So, I returned to doing my artwork full-time. A few years ago, I quite accidentally discovered the sensuous feel and movement of clay and what I could do with it. Clay gives me joy and now I can bring ideas to life I’ve only pictured in my mind.
I’d characterize my work as representational in that it’s easy to appreciate what the subject is. I prefer to use gestural textures and marks as well as brilliant color rather than realistic. In fact, I think the very nature of clay, wanting to be pushed around, pinched and pulled, carved and even hit, tends to influence my marks and style increasingly and quickly. What physically “feels” good in the clay manipulation is part of the essence of each animal. I find expression with sweeping movement more comforting and soothing than tightness of realistic detail for both me and hopefully my viewers. After the pieces have been fired, it’s exhilarating to see each piece come to life in brilliant color. Their final finish is like Christmas morning to me. The reactions I get when I see people smile and laugh when seeing my work, especially for the first time, is extremely gratifying and good for my soul, and hopefully, theirs.
Ultimately, my work endeavors to invoke happiness, smiles and laughter in the viewer through whimsical wildlife, brilliant colors, and imbibing familiar human emotions and characteristics including my favorite, sarcasm, in and through animals. My goal is to create art people want to have around them all the time at work and in their homes. I don’t like to feel uncomfortable when I view art, so I don’t want that from my viewers either. I also find the viewer’s first reaction to be the most honest one—though that doesn’t mean I’m not going to plant little surprises and fun things to find while you gander.