Orin Hahn talks with Artist Michael Alan about creating in the face of adversity.
Bruised and battered but unbroken, Artist Michael Alan is learning to sustain himself by focusing on productive energy. It’ s tough enough to make it in an art city like Manhattan where the supply of artists is plentiful, and respect is not guaranteed. The mission gets harder when your body has been battered and broken and might break down at any moment.
We wanted to find out how this rising young art star is managing to live with disease and still carry on with his self appointed mission to create, connect and raise the art energy of those he comes in contact with.
Q. What are you dealing with right now?
Extreme lifestyle changes. I hated it at first but now I’m loving it. It’s like getting a whole new art style granted to me by the big art chief in the sky. I’m taking a lot of medications like Coumadin and injections. The doctors are trying to figure out why I have massive blood clots all over my body, whether it’s caused by leukemia or some new mad monkey disease. I also have have permanent nerve damage in my spine that’s irreversible. They wanted to put me on methadone and oxycontin. I told them to forget that. Pain is weakness leaving the body. I’ll be in pain and wake up and say fuck it, lets get moving.
Q. You’ve been extremely productive recently in spite of everything. How does that work?
Why not, what am I supposed to do just lay here and cry and watch soap operas?? You always have to use adversity in your favor. The major thing is continuing on, taking care and being productive. For me seeing strangers achieving things, people achieving stuff, It Gives me the energy even if its in reaction to something horrible. It’s all relative. Everyone had pain.
Q. What are some of the challenges you are facing?
Not letting my friends and family down, making it and healing. A major challenge is keeping people positive around me while I’m recovering , because their fear and negativity interfere with my healing. One of the hardest things to deal with is the sympathy of my 80 year old parents. My Dad was a paratrooper in the Korean war. He was with the 82nd Airborne and did eight jumps. He taught me that you can survive anything.
Q. What’s one of your Goals going forward?
I want to make everything more meaningful. I accept the challenge. The German expressionists were facing Hitler, those people were making paintings that are still so strong. Its always a tough time. You put some fear into someone and you really get to see what they’re made of. It’s my time to step up, in all aspects of my life.
Original interview by Orin Hahn with additional reporting by Michael Kronenberg
Image by artist