We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Osborne and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, how do you define success?
One word comes to mind: growth. I think, in this absolutely insane world we’re living in, the only thing I can use to define my life and my art is learning and growing. It’s difficult because, for all creatives, the term success tends to mean social media popularity and or financial gain. And of course, these things are integral to our survival. For me though, I find that the reach for either money or popularity leaves me in the dark. And it’s cold and damp in the dark! Especially after this past year in quarantine, I’ve learned that all I need to do is avoid the chatter of public opinion about what I should or need to be doing and hunker down and get to work on my own terms. And that’s where all of the really great stuff comes from.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As someone who has only recently embraced the life of a multi-disciplinary artist, I can tell you that it often feels like spinning plates. And that is something I’ve been fortunate enough to take the time to iron out over the past couple of years. After losing a job I hate-worked through for years, I found myself with extra time on my hands but no funds to do anything outside of my house. And that’s when I discovered drawing for the first time since I was a kid. That drawing practice grew into a new identity for me which I have recently certified under the moniker, MisterOsborne. My work is mostly in black and white and I’m more known for my detailed line work. I’ve been referred to as a figurative artist and an LGBTQIA artist. Both are true, and also not enough to cover what I hope to do in the future. Labels never describe an artist accurately enough, nor any one person of course. By committing to a drawing practice daily, I sort of fell into my style, which quickly gained interest via social media and has led to a growing business of selling original drawings and prints online. Outside of drawing, I’m an actor, writer, and filmmaker, and I think all of these have helped to fuse my art together. It’s all about storytelling in the end. My art is intrinsically linked to my personal experiences as a person who came out of the closet in their 30’s. I suppose that’s what defines my point of view, in that I had this major life shift a bit later than a lot of my friends and family. My struggle with identity is something I think we all experience as humans and I hope to continue making work that expresses this part of the journey in a way that everyone can relate to.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Wow! Where do I begin? As an L.A. native, I find this question overwhelming, but I will do my best. Let’s see…Okay! Since this is a particular time in the world and in this city, I will create a bit of a fantasy version, pretending certain places are still open. Imagine you are the friend and you’ve just arrived. I’ve picked you up from LAX, and we are now headed to In & Out because it’s on the way home to my place and it’s the perfect comfort food after a long flight. After you settle in for a nap with my cat, we take a lovely walk around the historic neighborhood of West Adams and I show you some of the incredible homes and buildings that date back as far as the 1880s. We have dinner at Mizlala, a fresh take on Mediterranean cuisine, on their outdoor patio. Then, once we’re fat and happy, we’ll head over to the east side and down some martinis at Akbar, one of my favorite bars in Silverlake. Why is it a favorite? It’s the best gay bar in L.A., hands down. And that was day one. Over the course of the week, I’ll take you to LACMA, one of my favorite museums, on hikes all over the city, and for meals at favorite spots like The Apple Pan, Homestate, Terroni, and Leo’s Taco Truck. We’ll definitely spend a day at the beach, see a movie at Arclight in Hollywood, and get some time downtown, including the arts district and a gay romp at the bar Precinct. Are you wiped out yet? No? Good, because I’m also taking you to Joshua Tree for a night so we can relax under the stars and take in the energy vortex. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I think that my shoutout has to go to my network of friends and family who have, undoubtedly, kept me from going under time and time again. I owe everything great in my life to these people who have given me the love and emotional support to keep striving for the kind of life and creative practice that I’ve always wanted. We’re talking everything from lending a listening ear to helping me find my current home, to loaning me money when times got rough, to shouting from the rooftops with me when I’ve succeeded. A big part of survival for me has been learning what it means to ask for help and my special circle has always been there for me in that regard.