Saturday, March 30, 2013

Interviews as Inspiration ~ Michael deMeng


Michael deMeng
I first met Michael deMeng when I took two of his classes at ArtFest in 2004. We've been friends since then. I see him  at art retreats around the country once or thrice a year. He's the nicest and funniest guy in the world, and beloved by his students. 

Jane LaFazio: Please start by telling us what you do.

Michael deMeng: Well…the technical term…is “assemblage” but you can call it “putting a bunch or random crap together and trying to make some sense out of it.”  Found objects into art…order out of chaos.

JL: You went to college for art, yes? Did you always know you wanted to be an artist, or did you have other careers in mind?

MdM: Actually I toyed around with being a psychologist…got my minor, in it.  But the more I got into it the more I decided that Shakespeare and Hemmingway had as much insight as some of these guys (excluding Jung…but Skinner…yikes)…that and if I wanted to continue I’d have to take Psychological Stats…I was outta there.
artwork by Michael deMeng

JL: You work your butt off. What drives you?

MdM: Usually my car…har har har.  Sorry, you left the window open on that one.  Well, actually if you must know…I am driven by death.  Yes it’s true…I am on a race, I want to feel as if I can accomplish something worth taking note before I shed this mortal coil.  The problem is that most of the time you’ll never really know that, but, nonetheless…it keeps me going.  So, really the Grim Reaper is sort of like my personal trainer.
artwork by Michael deMeng

JL: Teaching or art making, which do you like best?

MdM: All things in moderation.  I have a theatrical side as you may have guessed.  I believe that both aspects feed the whole.  For instance I do some pretty fun, low budget commercials for my online workshops.  They are intentionally very hammy, but a blast to do.  Art making is a bit more of a serious process for me…much more of a struggle but very rewarding…while teaching is actually fun and rewarding in a different, social sort of way.  I can be a recluse and very shy if given the opportunity…teaching keeps this side from taking over.  Perhaps I’m a bit Jekyll and Hyde’ish.

VIDEO by Michael deMeng

JL: Where do you live?

MdM: Vancouver British Columbia…a new Permanent Resident of Canada…oh Canada.

JL: What would your advice be to artists who would like to succeed, like you have, at making art and teaching art? 

MdM: This is tough, because I’m still trying to figure it out.  Truth of the matter if you choose to become an artist you’ve got to be nimble and flexible (art yoga…if you will) because things and opportunities change and you have to adapt…like the river around the rocks (I know I’m mixing Tao-ism metaphors with Yoga).  My advice is make what you believe in…teach what you believe in…stick with your guns and convince people that what you have to say is worth listening to.  You do this not by force but by believing it yourself.
artwork by Michael deMeng

JL: You’ve written 2 books. Did you enjoy the process? More books in the works?

MdM: I do love writing.  Mostly because I write like I talk and I have a bit of fun with the process.  The next book is a book on a project I put together last year called ArtAbandonment.  It is group that is 7000 members strong who make art, then abandon it for unsuspecting recipients.  The abandoneers leave notes for the finders…if they wish they can contact the group and inform everyone of the fate of the abandoned art.  I have another bunch of writings in the works…Fairy Tale Noir…my version of fairy tales.
artwork by Michael deMeng

JL: You’ve got the ‘gift of gab’ as they say and a fabulous sense of humor. Ever thought about parlaying that talent into…radio? Podcasts? Saturday night live? Seriously. I love the short videos you post on facebook.

MdM: Well I sort of mentioned this earlier…there is something…something I’m pondering that could be quite fun….not telling yet.

VIDEO by Michael deMeng
JL: What your favorite part of your day?

MdM: Martini time!

JL: Give us some titles of your favorite books. Any kind~ fiction, non-fiction, or art related.

MdM: Bestest books ever…Steppenwolf and Razor’s Edge….and Power of Myth interview.

JL: Future plans and dreams? For yourself and your career? Books? TV? World tour?

MdM: I really really want to be the host of a Saturday night Creature Feature show…you know like Elvira…but less busty.

Here's Michael's website and here's a link to his upcoming classes.
Michael deMeng, teaching...or something...
Check out my other Interviews as Inspiration:
Rachelle Archer, Expressive Arts Therapist at a school for homeless
Cas Holmes, textile artist
Mary Beth Shaw, artist and Stencil Girl Products founder
Marcia Derse, textile designer
Lesley Riley, artist and author
Danny Gregory, artist and author
Judy Reeves, writer
Carlo Roberts, The Blue Walk travel company founder
Jane Powell, Random Arts owner 


  1. Thanks Jane and Michael. I really enjoyed this! Psychologist, eh????

  2. I truely adore Michael's art and his humor. Glad to read the interview and get into his head a bit. If I could hang out and converse with him, I think I'd feel less insane. Love the comment that "I am driven by death." I'll be watching for that Elvira type show-do it!!

  3. Thank you Jane and Michael for a very entertaining interview!

  4. Always enjoy interviews. Great interview with one of the greats!


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