Michael's story:

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Where it comes to being a artist I get often asked what on earth it is I do! Am I painter?, A photographer? A sculptor? Or designer? and my honest Answer is all of the above!

As for me its not about "how well something can be created" its about exploration, adventure and challenging myself to to veiw the world differently. For after all I say, the mediums are my children therefore it would be wrong to pick a faverioute!.

My primary artistic interests though are drawn to the environments and landscapes that surround us, having spent several years volunteering in conservation as also exploring the relationships and ways we view and understand the natural world around us. 

 This in recent years led to many a rambling adventures across Scottish spaces such as Moine Mhor, and the Pentland hills in order to discover new ways of seeing and working with the landscapes we often see as wild. The one constant through the years of doing this being my love of working with the land, whether it's investigating how the world is rapidly changing around us, finding inspiration, or simply getting my hands dirty in the name of art.

Yet during 2020, whilst I was Graduating from 4 years at the Edinburgh College of Art studying sustainable craft and landscape relationships, Covid 19 hit and the lockdowns soon followed changing the very ways I could simply work as a artist. This Left myself for the first time unable to work with the landscapes I knew and loved whilst feeling that my creative practice had only just began leaving myself rather thrown in where next to go. 

Yet this conundrum led to a new beginning for my practice, exploring the communities and places that lay on my doorstep in Craigmillar rather than the landscapes further afield. Exploring the local parks taking inspiration from local knowledge and wildlife I found new practice in what surrounds me. with this I often was met with litter whether blowing into my garden or trampled through the castle park meadows and having a background in conservation I was determined to at least whilst finding inspiration do something about it! 

Therefore I took to start local litter picks, wich honestly started as a act of mindfulness, yet soon grew to be a entirely new community as I noticed many of the locals took so much interest in my wildlife antics therefore encouraging and inspiring myself to set up the online community, Craigmillar and Niddrie Litter Busters, that within weeks grew and thrived as a local litter picking group. 

As restrictions eased I organised group picks with the community that in time led to meeting many wonderful people across Craigmillar and Niddrie as also work with local park rangers and communities such as the Thistle foundation. Through meeting, working and walking with others I found my practice soon grew from a postgrad fledgling to a community artist where I joined Craigmillar Now as a garden artist in residence in November 2021.

So I welcome you all to my creative adventures at Craigmillar now! Here will be my residency journey where I hope to continue to grow as an artist whilst sharing with the community the wonder and enthusiasm I feel towards the environments and habitats that surround us. Aiming to transform the garden spaces to be a space that is inclusive, inspiring and empowering for all within the community.

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Contacts:

Email - happygoosearts@gmail.com

or follow on Instagram for more of my work at... - @michael_james_art