MIAMI (CBSMiami) — For this edition of “Women To Watch,” Trend Tracker® Tara Gilani caught up with Michele Oka Doner, one of the most prolific and revered female artists working today.
Michele Oka Doner is an internationally acclaimed artist, represented by the prestigious Marlborough Gallery in New York City. Inspired by her love of the natural world, her magical, hand-made pieces live in museums and private collections around the world. Also legendary: her public art installations, including masterworks in New York City at Herald Square, at Miami International Airport, in Santa Monica, California and in the city of
Doral – headquarters of CBS Miami.
Art is in Michele’s DNA.
“I was always an artist,” said Michele. “I came from a family of artists. My mother’s father was a painter. I would go in the backyard always and find the coral vine or crotons and mix and make flowers for the table and my mother always said to me: You have poppa’s hands.”
Michele Oka Doner works out of her studio in Soho, New York but it’s her hometown that is still her biggest influence. Michele was born and raised in Miami Beach.
“I really could speak about what I knew and saw which was an accelerated notion of things growing, sprouting, ripening, decaying, the tides coming, bringing me things when I walked the beach in the morning, taking them away, it was full of wonders and richness.”
Tara asked about her journey.
“By really learning my own trade, and mastering my own self, so it really was coming out of dipping back into myself instead of reaching out in the world and grasping that I learned daily, a step at a time, to manifest an idea, and that’s as much as we can hope to do in this world,” said Michele.
“Life is a beach,” quipped Gilani.
“True, indeed,” said Michele. “Rarely on the beach do you get a whole anything. So again, a puzzle magic, what fits with what, where did this come from? And as curious child and a curious adult, I’m still looking and picking up fragments.”
Michele never stops working, creating, contributing, collaborating.
“I’m working with Lourdes Lopez ‘s 30th anniversary. She’s commissioned me for Miami City Ballet sets and costumes for George Balanchine’s masterpiece, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Tara asked if Michele had a favorite quote. She recited a magnificent poem by Vivian Laramer Yesler.
“The poinciana’s bloom is brief, well so are ecstasy and grief, superlatives like flame and song, are not meant to last very long,” said Michele.
Michele, from the heart, answered the Trend Tracker®’s round of questions: I am, “a woman,” I want, “to continue to do what I’m doing,” I will, “continue to walk and enjoy,” I won’t, “be concerned if it rains on me,” I promise, “I’ll continue to have gratitude.”
Tara Gilani summed up her time with Michele, thusly:
“The word “divine” comes to mind. Cheers MOD!”