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The story behind Michelle Loughery’s Bold Murals & Artwork

Award winning British Columbia based artist Michelle Loughery’s work stretches from massive community murals, large scale portraiture, to evocative contemporary encaustic studio work. 
 

More than three decades ago, Loughery’s art legacy monuments pioneered youth employment and public art mentor programming globally. Born and raised in a rural coal town, the artist began to recognize a certain satisfaction she felt when working at a larger scale, and when youth and seniors from the community were engaged in the experience. From heritage themes, international music star themes, youth social change murals and crime prevention mental health projects, the art form would become integral to Loughery’s artistic exploration. Inspired by those that challenged the social systems and injustices, two key attributes behind the design of the Internment Canada Sunflower Mural, Loughery created a massive piece, named “The Sunflower Project “ as tribute to the men and women interned in Canada during world war one. Loughery’s great grandparents were affected by this Canadian injustice.
 

Loughery’s passion for youth mentorship is evident in the development of her indigenous youth WAYFINDER ARTWORKS Projects and during her career she has partnered with many government, education and community systems to support art sectors, youth inclusion and art trades skills building in the process behind each work and global project she has created.

British Columbia , Canada based artist, Loughery’s work stretches from massive mural portraiture to multi layered evocative, abstract and figurative encaustic studio work. More than three decades ago, as Loughery’s artwork began to include youth trades programing and community skills training, to grow community projects in scale that entire communities were rebranded, and recreated in her collaborative creative placemaking work. 

 

Inspired by those that challenged the systems, two key attributes behind the design of the Internment Canada Sunflower Mural, Loughery created a colorful massive piece, named “The Sunflower Project’ as tribute to the men and women interned in Canada during world war one. Loughery’s great grandfather and grandmother were effected by this Canadian injustice. Loughery is not unfamiliar with either injustices and challenging social systems ; she’s embraced both through the development of her indigenous youth Wayfinder ArtWORKS Projects and during her career she’s challenged the government and community systems to support youth, elder and marginalized new immigrants through inclusion and skills building systems being established through her recognized innovative community work processes.

Loughery muses “The work must make bold statements. Both visually or historically. Not always a positive statement, but one that invites people into the view. It is astounding to me that I painted so much of the past, talking to the people who experienced it, while painting in the present, teaching youth that would be leaders of tomorrow. The art itself a time machine.” If it does not have a bold impact right from the start, it can be easily dismissed. The art must celebrate diversity and unsung heroes. 
 

Loughery’s studio artistic work began in the studio long before she painted outside. But her mural work and her studio work are both approached the same. Her murals are approached as a massive fine art pieces, never mapped or gridded. Loughery’s encaustic work is multi-layered and her process of taking away layers to reveal the work beneath the surface, tells of the work she is prepared to do in the development of the medium she creates from the bees wax and pigment waxes she hand makes. Loughery has developed a visual language through her combined multi-media work and has moved beyond being a technical painter into a place of intuition and expression.  

Her encaustic paintings  are an expression of bold mark making, energy and the melting of layers to reveal thoughts of the work hidden in the thoughts of the experiences of the walls and characters she met along the way.  Loughery speaks of her memories in her portrait work and many familiar faces appear in the large striking pieces. Loughery has with work in collections across the Globe. Her encaustic and large contemporary portraits are widely sought after. Her work for her 9/11 Tribute Mural can be found in the Smithsonian in New York City.

 

Awards

  • BC ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

  • ORDER OF CANADA NOMINATION

  • LEADERSHIP CANADA AWARD

  • TOURISM INNOVATION AWARD

  • OKANAGAN ART EDUCATOR

  • HERITAGE BC AWARD

  • WOMAN OF THE YEAR

  • MULTICULTURAL AWARD OF BC

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Master Artist and Muralist Michelle Loughery is an intentional respected thought leader, Artist, Project Manager and art educator, Loughery has worked in the field of community public art for 30 years and has created hundreds of large-scale fine art murals and projects. Loughery approaches large-scale art without use of grid or projectors. Loughery's work offers a unique community WAYFINDER artworks digital rural employment strategies. This signature original program enlists youth and elders in the community as apprentices, and trains them in the techniques of art and digital story telling while leaving social, economic and tourism benefits behind.

Thirty years of experience in non-profit leadership, education, project management and production, technology, stakeholder engagement and government relations. In addition to leading multi-million dollar community infrastructure projects, she has provided leadership services for large scale public art revitalization strategies and creative PUBLIC ART and content art technology in the community and tourism sector. 

Michelle is inspired to elevate rural communities globally in a people and all nations up grassroots strategy. 

Her dynamic leadership style motivates excellence in those around her and is a testament to the power of team to achieve success. Her passion and forward-thinking approach to integrated youth inclusion programming, multicultural diversity inclusion and rural marketing strategies have led to innovative brand campaigns that are progressive and powerful.

Loughery’s “WAYFINDER AR:TWORKS Solutions” Community WAYFINDER community art programs have helped many communities create their branding, development, and marketing Art in Action plan using the inventory and themes of history and uniqueness and an innovative “WAYFINDER AR:TWORKS” philosophy.