From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.
A child in a military family, Michael D. Crossett lived in Hawaii, Japan, Pennsylvania, Alabama and Virginia by the time he was in high school. These drastically different cultural influences shaped his point of view and his artistic eye. In particular, he has incorporated characteristics of the Japanese aesthetic — the highly designed nature of everyday objects, the bright colors, and bold but patterns. The graphic appeal and immediacy of these elements still drives his approach today.
Crossett currently has a solo exhibition at gallery plan b on 14th Street NW through June 17 and a group show in Provincetown. Potential future projects include public installations, sculpture, oil painting and encaustic.
As a teenager, Crossett took up photography and carefully developed his photographs to control the final image. He continues to take photographs but lost interest as digital methods began to eclipse traditional photography. Above all, he values the instant connections viewers develop with photographs and has successfully translated that connection into other mediums.
Crossett majored in marketing and advertising at George Mason and currently works as a Director of Design. About five years ago, he earned a Certificate of Graphic Design from the Corcoran College of Art and Design. He began experimenting with silk screening and mixed media collage. He often manipulates photographed images by transferring them to silkscreen and adding them into collages.
Crossett’s greatest ambition for his work is “connecting with people” rather than alienating them with inscrutable subject matter. He seeks to engage viewers, draw them in with a sense of familiarity, and then push them to learn through his art. This goal was evident in the pieces he displayed during last Saturday’s Mid City Artists open studios, many of which included details and images easily associated with specific locations in their composition.
As a local artist, Crossett appreciates the”small town” feel of D.C.’s neighborhoods that contrast with the city’s reputation as a major tour destination. Two of his favorite areas in DC.are the 14th Street Corridor and Mount Pleasant. Around Borderstan, he frequently visits Estadio, Teasim, U Street Music Hall, Coppi’s, and 9:30 Club.