A Success Story: Michelle O’Patick-Ollis

Michelle O’Patick-Ollis taught art at Indian Trail Middle School for seventeen years before leaving one year ago to create art full time. “I had always wanted to be a full-time artist,” she says, “so I saved for several years until I felt I could quit teaching without any financial worries.”

To facilitate her career change, Michelle wanted to find an affordable studio location outside her home where she could work undisturbed, yet still be close to downtown. When she discovered Create Appalachia’s Center for Art & Technology in Johnson City, she knew she’d found the ideal solution and became a member with 24/7 access to her new studio, where she works from 9 am to 3 pm daily.
After studying multiple media in her college art classes, Michelle received a BFA from East Tennessee State University and then an MFA from Arizona State University. She has a passion for creating mixed media coffee paintings, charcoal portraits, mixed media sculptures, murals, and window paintings.
Michelle supports Create Appalachia’s core mission to promote art as a business. Drawing upon her teaching experience and 30 years of mural painting experience, she founded Artsy Walls & Windows to create custom murals and collaborative art making experiences for customers who want to participate in the mural painting process. “My murals often employ paint by number techniques, so that everyone can participate,” she says.

Michelle’s artwork is featured in collections nationwide including: The New Britain Museum of American Art; Scottsdale Contemporary Museum of Art; University of Washington Book Arts and Rare Book Collection; Northwest Art Center; and the Tucson Museum of Art, among others.
Recently, Michelle has been creating textile art based on animal forms made from found objects. Her creations are whimsical and one-of-a-kind. “I ask my subjects to visit animalinyou.com and take a short quiz to find out what animal they are aligned with,” she explains. “Then, based on their results, I create textile sculptures to match their animal personality.” And Michelle’s own animal personality? The mouse: observant, thrifty, and always prepared for the future. It seems to fit her to a T.
To contact Michelle and view her wonderful art, please visit opatickollis.com.


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