A self described ‘three legged stool’, Delaware artist Michael Krausz weaves music, art, and philosophy together as one.
Swiss born Michael Krausz was destined for a life of music, the son of professional musicians, he later discovered philosophy and in a moment that changed his life he discovered his love of painting.
Michael came to the US in 1947 when his father joined the Cleveland Orchestra. At 7-years-old Michael began playing the violin. “I was destined to become a musician”, he said.
After working with Joe Gingold, the concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra, Michael went to college and discovered philosophy, “That was a tremendous opening for me, and so I was then juggling philosophy and music.”
Music went on the back burner and eventually Michael made a career out of philosophy.
“When I was 28-years-old, I had an epiphany”, Michael said. While visiting a friend’s art studio, Michael had an experience that would further change the direction of his life. While watching his friend haul out huge canvases Michael had the sense that, “I was experiencing this moment that I was in this space rather looking at the space.” So, at age 28 Michael found that he just had to paint, he had his first one person show by the end of that year.
Ever since that moment in the art studio Michael has been “Juggling these three muses, my music, my art, and my philosophy,” Michael said.
When asked to characterize himself Michael describes himself as a three legged stool. One of art, music and philosophy. “All of them are necessary to keep the stability to the extent that I have stability,” Michael explained.
I asked Michael if he had a favorite ‘leg’ of the three. He said they are just different parts of him. It would be like asking if you have a favorite arm or eye. “No, they compliment each other, but they’re quite distinct, in that I am all those,” Michael responded.
Michael’s artwork is unique and different. He is interested in depicting the relationships between levels, “So as to actually get a sense of the laying of space upon space upon space.”
Michael was inspired by a Buddhist and Hindu conception that. “What we have to understand, is what we take to the objects are constructed and we just go beyond that, beyond that, and beyond that.”
Michael uses dry pigment brushed into the paper to begin his work. The pigments precede the mixing of a paint, either oil or acrylic. “The powder allows me to actually work with brushes to work the pigment into the surface,” Michael said.
On top of these fields of pigment Michael makes what he calls his ciphers, “A kind of automatic writing that arises out of my conductorial gestures.”
“The musical motion behind some of these images, allowed me to get a sense of dimensionality,” Michael said. Going back to his musical roots, Michael has been conducting since he was a teenager, and the movements of the hands while conducting inform the movements of his brush.
Many people when viewing Michael’s work see different things in the ciphers. When I viewed the work I was transported to another world, a fan of fiction, the work reminded me of Tolkienesque elfish script. “Some people have seen Arabic, other people have seen Hebrew, other people have seen musical scores,” Michael said.
Michael loves it when people tell him what they see in his work. Many times that teaches Michael what he’s done.
For Michael his art takes on a life of its own, he believes there isn’t one meaning to a given work of art. “That’s the beauty for me, of actually doing art and discovering what there is there before me,” Michael said.
Most artists can’t help themselves, they have to do art. “Its more a compulsion, its kind of a need,” Michael said. “I don’t think I could recognize myself to be the person I take myself to be, if I wouldn’t or couldn’t continue to do art.”
Michael finds peace within himself while he is working on his ciphers. He is fascinated by putting the paint down on a two dimensional surface.
“Its a kind of meditative moment, that’s when I am most satisfied,” Michael said.
You can learn more about Michael and his work when you visit him on the web.