This month’s client focus (where we take a look at one of our brilliant tenants) is a rather unusual one. We chat to artist Michele Caira, one of Flexspace’s newest tenants. Michele rents a space in our John Smith centre in Kirkcaldy.
In fact, one of Michele’s creations proudly hangs in the centre’s reception area. As a proud supporter of Michele (as well as being his landlord) Flexspace plan to beautify our meeting rooms in Grangemouth and Livingstone with examples of his creations. We sat down to chat with Michele to understand what motivates him and how he became an artist.
‘I’m second generation Scottish- Italian (from an all-Italian background) . One of my earlier influences was Eduardo Paolozzi, perhaps better known for creating the (Tottenham Court) Tube mosaics amongst many other public works. His work seems to resonate with me, and he creates a similar type of graphic art. In fact, my whole relationship with art could be subtitled ‘the itch that has to be scratched!”
‘I am a late developer as far as art is concerned. I was interested in art as a kid, and I can remember that it seemed to be the only thing which captured my attention. It also seemed to be the one thing I was really good at. You could say that art is my first and oldest love. I did well with it at school, but didn’t take it any further. I suppose there was some pressure to work for the family firm. We had a cafe, chip shop and confectioners at the time.’
‘After working in the family firm for a number of years, my full-time work took me in a couple of directions. Initially, I worked for Kingsway Entertainments, managing a series of bingo halls.
After that, I worked in Health & Safety for Diamond Services 1 in steel construction, a local firm supplying the oil industry. I consider myself a versatile person and I also found myself working in advertising for a period. These jobs were good enough in their own right, and allowed me to pay the bills, but they didn’t provide sufficient relief to the itch that I continued to have in the background. That itch was my subconscious telling me I needed to have art within my life. But that voice still wasn’t sufficiently loud at that time.’
‘Sometimes you have to go in the wrong direction before knowing the right door to open in life’, says Michele.
It was this latter period of his life that he decide that art had to assume a significant role. ‘It was now or never I reasoned. So I enrolled at art college in 2005, when I was in my fifties’ he chuckled. ‘I studied fine art and printmaking at Dundee, and even managed to achieve a 2-1 with honours when I graduated in 2009! Once again I found I was drawn towards the more abstract and graphical elements of art. I am, and continue to be, fascinated by technology and the effect it has on us all. This permeates into my art, where I specialise in the graphical elements with screen printing in particular.’
‘So now I’m doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do.
I might not be earning thousands from originals and commissions (not always affordable to the man in the street) but I am now able to exhibit and sell affordable Giclée prints of my work, which is one of the most pleasurable things anyone can do I think. All my work can be digitally remastered to provide a unique design suited to each individual’.
‘It was a friend how initially recommended I contact Flexspace. I currently occupy an internal office space. I find its a bright space; it is structured, secure, manned if I’m out (via a front desk), 24hr accessible, friendly and most importantly, it is affordable. Also worth mentioning is the networking and community support, the cafe and the other facilities. The location is very central, its easy to get anywhere really.
The fact that I have a solid base with a real business address gives myself and my ART business the presence and credibility that I need. In time I hope that my business will develop sufficiently to enable a move to a larger or external space where I would love to exhibit more of my own work but also that of other artists’.
If anyone would like to know more about Michele’s work, it’s available to view in its original form HERE or by visiting The John Smith centre in Kirkcaldy. If you want to purchase a high quality print work, its available HERE .