Creative Life in the Gateway Arts District
Meet Mount Rainier Artist Loft’s resident and artist Michael Lurry. Lurry majored in cartoon illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and has been working as an illustrator and graphic designer for over 20 years. He has worked on numerous prevention campaigns nationwide, making a difference in young people’s lives.
How did you discover the medium you currently work in?
I’ve been drawing since I was 3 years old. I used everything from #2 pencils, crayons, watercolors, markers and colored pencils. It wasn’t until after art school when I learned PhotoShop at a friend’s job after hours did I find the medium that gave my work the polish it needed.
How do you define “artist”?
An artist is one who creates, performs or expresses. I feel extremely grateful to be able to give birth to something new at will. I feel it’s a special gift.
How did you discover the Gateway Arts District?
A singer I knew told me about the Mount Rainier Artist Lofts. I applied while the building was under construction. Although the completion date was delayed four months, I hung in there and ended up being one of the original 44 tenants.
If you could give your younger self a piece of advice about being an artist, what would it be?
I was a Cartoon major at the School of Visual Arts. Looking back, I probably should have majored in Illustration instead. I think I would have received a more well-rounded experience which would have led to more employment opportunities sooner.
What drives you?
Art, like life, presents you with challenges. Coming up with creative solutions to representing life, whether realistic or abstract, is an amazing and invigorating ability. When you’ve created that work that you’ve slaved over, and are proud of, there’s no better feeling.
What is your greatest challenge as an artist?
I think one of the biggest challenges artists face is the devaluing of art. Artists used to be held in very high regard, but it seems the current culture consumes and disposes more quickly. Everything is fleeting, and no one takes time to sit with a story, a song, or a piece like they used to. We take a look, then swipe, on to the next.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m illustrating online health education modules for at-risk youth and working on interactive comics for African-American children. I’m also actively seeking new illustration and design clients.
Are you an artist? We want to get to know you! Click here to do our online Q&A.