After visiting Stonewall Gallery at Campbell Pottery for their Recycled Art Show, I started this series on some of the local Artists I got to speak with while there. You can take a virtual field trip of the show here or read about the first Artist of this series- Katie LeVan in this post.
Today I’ll introduce you to Mike Saletra. Mike is a sneaky one. He wasn’t wearing a name tag that the Artists were encouraged to wear. But since I already knew him, he couldn’t hide from me…. (insert malicious laugh).
You see I knew Mike because one thing I’m doing for my personal development is taking a watercolor class through the local Meadville Council of the Arts. Sometimes Mike teaches photography or drawing there and we’ve chatted.
In fact just last night he took me into the Gallery upstairs of the Market House so I could take a look at their current show. (Surprise, Surprise, I knew a few of the people who have pieces there. Yay!!)
The first piece of Mike’s I ran across was this free standing assemblage. It looked to me like it could be sitting next to a model train set. Mike enthusiasm came out as he showed me all his intricate little additions.
Mike had actually started this one prior to being asked to submit something to the show. Yet he still wasn’t sure he would make the deadline for the show since this one piece took him months to complete. He enjoys working in this medium so his style fit well with the show’s theme. (Though Mike works in a variety of mediums.)
Mike had a friend come up to him and say, “I have a present for you.”
It was a box of computer parts. Just the kind of thing that Mike likes to collect. So he used a lot of those but also very random items. There is a bottle cap that he found all dirty on the ground. And odds and ends he just ran across like an eagle pen holder, an old watch, or clock parts.
I already told you he’s tricky. Well he also likes to hide his name in his pieces as well.
Mike likes to create with gears and give the viewer the impression that it works or does something. Like if you were to push the right button parts would start moving.
Can you see his name snuck in this one?
I just loved talking to Mike. He gets this smile that you can hear in his voice but can’t really see behind his beard. The joy that making Art brings him is so obvious. In his chuckle as he points out little surprises. Or talking about using tweezers to drop in little parts between the cracks.
Mike said the most important aspect of making Art is that it brings you Joy.