Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Drummond.
Michelle, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, I came to the US at 19 years old to pursue an undergraduate degree and play field hockey at St. Lawrence University, Upstate, New York. Although, I pursued a technical degree in Mathematics, I’ve always had a passion for fine arts, which was introduced to me during high school in Jamaica. Therefore, for my entire senior year at the University, I elected to take classes covering a spectrum of fine arts. While taking a sculpting class, I was tasked with creating a linear sculpture, which led me to create a piece using nails, thread, and wood. This was the beginning of my craft, which has evolved over the years to what it is today, mixed media created from manipulating multicolored yarn and acrylic paint on canvas.
Since my graduation from St. Lawrence University, I’ve achieved a post-graduate degree in Project Management and my certification as a Project Management Professional. I have moved around a few times, trying to find a comforting place I could call home. I temporarily settled in the Washington, DC metro area for 17 years, where I started a family and pursued a career in Program/Project Management in both the federal and private arenas while continuing to create art as a hobby.
In 2014, unhappy with working for others, along with being divorced with a 6-year-old son, I opted to start my management consulting company to provide program/project management services to organizations in need of assistance to optimize resources and improve performance. This allowed me the flexibility and the mobility to pursue my passion for creating art and to seek avenues to gain exposure in the fine arts industry. In July 2018, I decided to relocate with my son from the Washington, DC area to South Florida to pursue this passion, enjoy the weather that has a familiar feel and allow my son to be closer to family.
My debut to the fine arts world here was the acceptance of three pieces of artwork in the Social Code exhibition at Arts Warehouse, Delray Beach in August 2018, one month of my arrival. This was followed by participating in the 4-month Popup Store Program, after which, I transitioned to a full-time artist in residence. In addition, to my pleasant surprise, my work was accepted by a gallery in Miami to be represented in the Red Dot Art Fair during Art Basel week 2018.
I currently live in Delray Beach, Florida with my 12-year-old son, where I continue to create original artwork, apparel (t-shirts) and accessories (tote bags) inspired by my original artwork, along with providing consulting services in Program/Project Management to supplement my income.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No, it has not been a smooth road leaving all my friends and family in Jamaica at 19 years old to come here to an unfamiliar culture and environment. It was a very challenging transition for me. Culturally and physically I was in shock, I would say, I walked around depressed and in a nostalgic daze for two years during my first two years at the University. The differences in culture were overwhelming and the frigid and gloomy weather made it even unbearable, compared to where I came from in sunny, warm tropical Jamaica. I eventually emerged to somewhat get used to the new environment after studying and living abroad in France with fellow students from St. Lawrence and returning to Upstate, New York to finish our final year.
After graduating from St. Lawrence and thrown in the real world, prejudices and other factors that I was not exposed to during my years at St. Lawrence and growing up in Jamaica became very apparent. I was no longer only looked at as an international student from a place where my fellow students vacationed and a great field hockey player, but based on my physical appearance and someone with an accent. This was very eye-opening for me, as this was an unfamiliar territory that I had never encountered and I was faced with the reality of the world I actually lived in. I was used to being physically admired for my attractiveness, but not in the way I was now being regarded. Despite my qualifications, I was overlooked by recruiters and not offered a position I was qualified for. If I was offered the position, I was paid less than someone who was less qualified than I was. Most of the times, I felt as if I was caught in between two cultures and fighting to balance the two, one I grew up in and loved and the other I am trying to accept and survive in. I found the inner strength to become persistent, audacious and confident, despite my challenges, as I had aspirations for the life I wanted to create for myself.
I learned throughout the years, that I had to figure out how to love and accept who I am as a person in order to survive in a new environment. You have to have aspirations and to learn to create your own path to achieve these goals. Continue to be honest with yourself, grounded and persistent. Only you can create your own destiny and the life you want to live.
Please tell us more about your artwork, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am a mixed media artist who creates fine art by manipulating multicolored yarn and acrylic paint on canvas. I am inspired by my experiences from the culture I was raised in, in Jamaica and the culture I currently live in here in the US and those of my travels. My work has evolved to be whimsical in nature but also tells a story.
I am most proud of creating an identity for myself through my brand Michelle Drummond, as an artist creating unique pieces of artwork and DStrings as a business where I create apparel (t-shirts) and accessories (tote bags) inspired by artwork.
What sets me apart from others is my ability to transform my challenges into opportunities using both the technical and creative sides of my brain to achieve business and artistic goals.
I am located in studio #9 at Arts Warehouse, Delray Beach, Florida, where some of my work is currently on display. My pieces are also on view in galleries during juried exhibitions.
Gallery Representation: New York Art Gallery, Tribeca, New York, New York
Were there people and/or experiences you had in your childhood that you feel laid the foundation for your success?
Oh, yes. I believe that my Jamaican culture and heritage have played a significant role in my success today. I was raised to see people for who they are despite their ethnic backgrounds, stance in society and influence. We are all human beings with similar, if not the same insecurities and doubts, so pursue life from that perspective and be true and honest with yourself and you will get very far.
I have always embraced that aspect of my culture and it has not failed me yet!
- Original Artwork – Price upon request
- Framed Prints of Original Artwork – $225
- Graphic T-shirts – $40
- Tote Bags – $25
- Address: 313 NE 3rd Street
Delray Beach, FL 33444
- Website: www.drumstrings.com
- Phone: 703-371-8961
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @drum_strings
- Facebook: @DrumStrings
- Twitter: @DrumStrings
Me modeling DStrings t-shirt: Photo Credit by Uriah Bennett