Michelle Ku is a Canadian artist creating paintings, murals, and animations. She’s diagnosed with Complex PTSD (CPTSD) and paints as a way to process and heal her trauma. Her current series focuses on exploring the mind-body connection through acrylic paintings. She’s inspired by somatic healing, parts work, and meditation.
In 2017, she graduated with a Graphic Design BA from Central Saint Martins and currently works in animation alongside her painting practice. Michelle has worked with Cartoon Network, Blink Ink, Golden Wolf and FX among others.
My current direction in my work aligns with the theme of resiliency, and I’d love to create something to reflect the strength of people in our community as we went through the lockdown together but apart. I am currently exploring the mind-body connection through my acrylic paintings. I want people to know they are not alone in their struggles with mental health and trauma. I’m not so good with words, but through painting, I’m able to get across more nuanced and complex messages.
I like to balance serious subject matter with cute characters and fun colours. During the lockdown, I think many of us faced mental health challenges, and it was quite a dark time. I think darkness is part of life, but I want to express it always with some sweetness so that things are balanced. Through painting, I can connect with my inner child while healing myself, and hopefully providing some healing for the viewer too. For me, painting requires a balance of conscious reflection and trusting my intuition. Balance is a key word for me, as I’ve struggled with moderation my entire life. Through balancing my composition and colours, I am reminded to balance my life in all areas. I’m Chinese-Canadian and also diagnosed with Complex-PTSD (C-PTSD). Advocating for representation and mental health awareness is an important part of my art practice. Ultimately, the magic of art is that it can turn negative experiences and emotions into something positive and beautiful that may even help others. I see painting as a kind of alchemy!
I would love to participate in this project because I feel the theme really aligns with my personal practice, and I would love to contribute my skills to a good cause. I’d also love to continue to gain more experience in public art, and this project would really help with adding to my portfolio as well.
For potential concepts, I’d like to reflect on my time during the lockdown and create something to represent this feeling of being isolated but connected online in a different way. I’d love to use a vibrant colour scheme and involve little characters to represent the different moods/emotions I felt throughout.