LAKE CITY, S.C. — The clown, mask in hand, looked down from its canvas hung on the wall in East Main Marketplace, while Anat Michaeli looked up at it.
She knew it. She understood it. Her daughter modeled for it. As a judge, she voted for it. She also painted it — “When the Demons Run the Show.”
“I started painting about two years ago. Before that I was working in the arts and creative fields, advertising actually,” Michaeli, a Florida resident, said. “I finally got the opportunity to do what I love, painting.”
“My artwork focuses on people, our experiences as human beings and knowing ourselves. What we share with other people,” she said.
The subject of her photo does not appear to be happy but holds a Carnival mask that appears both fanciful and, possibly, mischievous, or maybe evil. Ruffles of the clown’s clothing obscure part of it.
“This piece is very much about the masks we all wear and develop over our lifetime,” she said. “Every experience, we take on more and more pieces of the mask.”
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“What I hope to achieve in our artwork is for viewers to not only appreciate the piece but also connect with the piece itself, the experience,” Michaeli, who immigrated to the US from Israel, said.
“A lot of my art pieces deal with that, who are we really? What connects us to other people and how do they connect to us. With the mask, without the mask, and do we know ourselves. It’s deep,” she said.
Art can be deep, or pretty, or just something the artist felt like making at the time.
“There’s beauty in all those approaches,” she said.
“I struggled with it a little bit because I thought, as an artist, should I be creating works that look pretty, should I connect with what we perceive as beautiful in the world or, when I was trying to look for my voice, I realize art speaks the most when you convey what’s inside you,” she said. “It was a growth moment for me as a person and as an artist.”
Saturday she wore the mask of spectator as she wandered Lake City and ArtFields.
As an artist and a judge, she said, she was more aware of of the time, effort and technical skill that went into some pieces as opposed to other pieces.
“The pieces we’ve seen so far are incredible. As an artist you have a behind-the-scenes knowledge and you, I think you have a little bit more appreciation for the technical,” she said.
“What’s so beautiful about the art community, that I’ve seen, you create your own work but other artists open your world to what else is out there,” Michaeli said. “You help each other and take steps toward your own vision and developing your own skills.”
Digital Editor Matt Robertson is a veteran journalist who has fulfilled just about every role that a newspaper has and now serves as a key member of the Morning News’ newsroom by maintaining SCNow.com and covering the occasional story and photo assignment.