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This profile was last updated on 5/24/09  and contains information from public web pages.
 
Background

Employment History

Education

  • undergraduate degree , English literature
  • master's degree
6 Total References
Web References
Cardboard sculptures hide in just about ...
www.onlineathens.com, 24 May 2009 [cached]
Cardboard sculptures hide in just about every nook of Karl Michel's small basement studio. Some are geometric, with shape upon shape constructed into whole figures Michel imagines on the fly. Others are animal-like, rhinoceros and elephant shapes made by his students with cardboard, newspaper stuffing, masking tape, paste and paint.
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Karl Michel is a local sculptor and painter who teaches art at Piedmont College. Michel has used art as a way to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from his time in the Vietnam War.
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Cardboard sculptures hide in just about every nook of Karl Michel's small basement studio.
Some are geometric, with shape upon shape constructed into whole figures Michel imagines on the fly.
Others are animal-like, rhinoceros and elephant shapes made by his students with cardboard, newspaper stuffing, masking tape, paste and paint.
"I've turned (cardboard sculpture) into something personal to me," said Michel, a Piedmont College art professor in Athens and former public school art teacher.
...
Originally, Michel developed his cardboard sculptures as a way to solve a problem. He wanted to introduce his middle school students in Fulton County to elements of 3-D design. But using traditional materials was too costly.
So Michel identified free materials and sought out collectors.
"I asked the janitor to save all the cardboard," he said. Parents brought in their newspapers and magazines. He purchased the rest.
"The only thing I had to spend money on was masking tape and paste for the papier- m ché part of it," he said.
Produced over the following years were thousands of sculptures.
Many of them are made by Michel himself, who draws his own inspiration from his lessons and personal experiences.
"I put as much creation into teaching as my own artwork. It's an exploration," Michel said. "I'm a teacher, but I'm also an artist.
...
Michel earned his undergraduate degree in English literature. But he changed career paths after suffering hallucinations during a lunch break from his job as an Atlanta social worker.
He pictured those who surrounded him at a park wearing masks of whipped cream. He felt compelled to draw what he saw, realizing later that his vision related to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Michel, who served in the Vietnam war as part of the 25th Military Intelligence Detachment between 1968-69, returned from war broken.
He didn't realize it until he felt compelled to create. "It struck a chord with me, what I was experiencing was psychological and trying to visualize that through art was extremely important to me," Michel said. "The art was then, and continues to be, the most effective means of reconstructing myself, psychologically."
He described how making art "took over my life" for a period of years after his hallucination in 1973.
Michel quit his full-time job, underwent counseling, and followed his imagination wherever it led him, artistically.
"I never thought once about being an artist," he said, "I never considered it for a career."
Yet, he was committed to art full time by 1980 as a University of Georgia student, where he earned his master's degree. There, he cultivated his painting talent and also developed a love of sculpting.
Many of the paintings he made before and after his studies reflect darker themes. Even today, when he develops his highly architectural sculptures, Michel claims not to have plans in mind. He follows his instincts.
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The book titled "Vietnam: Reflexes and Reflections" includes "Soundless Wailing," which Michel completed in 1975 and gave to a friend who served in the war with him.
But the man didn't display it in his home because his wife thought the image too disturbing.
"He stuck it in a closet for the next 15 years. His wife couldn't live with it hanging on the wall," Michel said.
The artist understood. Michel later retrieved it and then donated the image to the museum.
When PBS produced a news segment on the Chicago museum's opening in 1996, Michel's painting was the final image shown.
"I thought that it was funny that this work had gone from complete obscurity (being in a closet) to being on national television," Michel said recently.
Over time, the art he makes has tempered a bit.
While his paintings still reflect darker themes and images he associates with the emotional remnants of war, Michel's sculptures are far more abstract.
His interest in others' impressions of his work also has increased.
When one of Michel's former UGA professors was adamant about the artist's sculpture called "Questions" being about war, Michel wondered if that was indeed the case.
He enjoyed another remark from someone else who commented about a sculpture and its newspaper classified covering: "I like your work and I also found a car. While Michel's work has been shown in pieces locally, he'd like to one day have a complete exhibit in Athens.
In the meantime, he plans to continue teaching future art teachers something they don't always learn today.
That is, the importance of connecting experience with artistic inspiration.
Having young students reconstruct their memories into visual art, he said, is valuable.
"I'm aware of importance of that," Michel said.
November | Savannah.com
www.savannah.com, 1 Nov 2012 [cached]
Images of war are explored with sculptures and paintings by artist Karl Michel in his upcoming exhibition, Vietnam Visions, on display at the City of Savannah's Gallery S.P.A.C.E., 9 West Henry St. (between Bull and Whitaker Streets).
Cardboard sculptures hide in just about ...
artigianati.com [cached]
Cardboard sculptures hide in just about every nook of Karl Michel's small basement studio.
Some are geometric, with shape upon shape constructed into whole figures Michel imagines on the fly.
Others are animal-like, rhinoceros and elephant shapes made by his students with cardboard, newspaper stuffing, masking tape, paste and paint.
"I've turned (cardboard sculpture) into something personal to me," said Michel, a Piedmont College art professor in Athens and former public school art teacher.
Jamie Davey, has served in Afghanistan ...
www.gainesvilletimes.com [cached]
Jamie Davey, has served in Afghanistan and Iraq; and Piedmont art professor Karl Michel, a Vietnam veteran who will talk about veteran's art as response to war.
Community - Art Patrol Events
community.connectsavannah.com, 7 July 2009 [cached]
Images of war are explored with sculptures and paintings by artist Karl Michel in his u... Full Description Nov. 29 Gallery S.P.A.C.E., 9 W. Henry St. GA
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