Art and Philosophy
Whether expressed in sculpture, painting, or drawing, certain characteristics pervade Michael Massen’s work: an involvement with the human figure, a concern for Humanistic ideas in dehumanizing times, a commitment to excellence in execution.
From his Quiet Work, with its sympathy for lone figures displaced against a stripped-down environment of their own making; to his Cheap Shots & One-Liners series, originally conceived as a reactionary, tongue-in-cheek response to the sophomoric work which has dominated the art market for decades; to his most recent Paranoid Critical Work, which is purposely less subject to rational critique; Mr. Massen’s work is smart, sincere, and lovingly crafted.
Mr. Massen loves sharing his knowledge and skills with interested practitioners, from beginners to other professionals in the field. His emphasis is always on the student and on finding new, easier ways to introduce traditionally complicated or difficult ideas.
He has led workshops both in prestigious institutions, such as the Art Students League of New York as well as out of his own studio.
Some of the topics and methodologies he covers come directly from his writings, such as workshops in “Drawing the Clothed Figure” and “Easy-to-Remember Proportions for the Visual Artist.”
Mr. Massen graduated from Wesleyan University in 1984, with a B.A. from the College of Letters.
Thereupon, he began to pursue a career in the fine arts, taking part-time classes in sculpture, drawing, and anatomy at the Art Students League of New York and the New York Academy of Art.
At the same time, he began making his way into the field of graphic design, earning positions at some of New York’s top publishing, cosmetics, and financial firms. This trajectory also led him into the field of front-end web development.
After appearing in a number of nationally juried shows, he had his first two-person show at the Figureworks Gallery in Brooklyn, NY in 2002.
Later in 2002, Mr. Massen returned to the New York Academy of Art, this time to earn an M.F.A. in Painting in 2004.
His first book, The Artist's Guide to Drawing the Clothed Figure was published by Watson-Guptill Publications in the fall of 2011.
His second book, Figure Drawing in Proportion is due to be published by North Light Books in May, 2016.
Mr. Massen lives and works in New York City.