"The Academy Awards" Part 1 - Michael Kagan

By Claire Cushman, MFA 2015

Michael Kagan's Paintings

On Saturday, May 30th, the new York Academy of Art held the "Academy Awards" ceremony, as part of the second annual Academy Alumni Reunion. These awards celebrate successful Academy Alumni in a number of categories, from "Most Likely to Break the Internet" to "Best Writing." For the next few weeks, I'll be featuring nominees.

One Day This Will All Be Yours

First up, we have Michael Kagan, MFA 2005 and Fellow 2006, who was nominated for "Best Showing."

Artists often think of the white walls of the gallery as the only place to show work. For our Best Showing award, the Academy community chose Academy alum who have had success showing work in uncommon venues. Kagan's case is uncommon indeed - his work is being shown on designer clothing. Kagan's wife, fashion designer Paola Hernandez, used Kagan's painting "One Day This Will All Be Yours," in her Spring-Summer 2015 Collection, titled "Initiation."

Below, Kagan answers some questions about his collaboration with Hernandez:

How did Paola come across your work?

The first time Paola saw my work in person was when she came over to my studio on our second date. Now, we are married and we are studio neighbors, so we constantly inspire each other with our work.

Tell us about your collaboration with Paola.

When Paola was designing her Spring-Summer 2015 collection, I was working on my solo show. She was inspired by my painting "One Day This Will All Be Yours," one of the main paintings in my show. At the beginning she was only using the same color palette for her collection, but then decided it would be even stronger to create a print based on my painting.

Can you talk about the title of the painting, and how your work fit Paola's vision?

Paola's inspiration for her Spring-Summer 2015 collection, titled "Initiation," was based on the idea that as you open a door, you discover a new world. Since my painting depicted the cockpit of a space shuttle, she thought it provided the perfect representation of her concept - the space shuttle is literally used to travel to other worlds.

How has your work evolved since NYAA?

NYAA gave me the base to understand technique with which to achieve my ideas. Since I graduated I have been working on my voice as an artist, finding subject matter that inspires me, and the ideas I want to represent.

What are you working on now?

I'm currently working on my second NYC solo show. It opens in February 2016 at Joshua Liner gallery.

Paola wearing the collaboration

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