We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Mote and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Michael, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
My favorite quote is: “What you focus on you will become.” This is taped on my wall at home so I see it everyday. It’s a reminder that to become the person you want to be, to succeed as you wish to succeed, you must constantly focus on becoming that that you wish to become, for me a world-class fine artist. I may never achieve this level of excellence, but I grow closer to this every day; I learn every day, and it gives my life purpose, as well as bringing me a sense of joy, and fulfillment.. It directs and clarifies my daily activities, constantly reminding me to improve, and reminds me that there is always room for growth. For me, learning is one of life’s great joys.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I paint in oils, and have evolved over the years into the artist I am today. Up close the painting becomes abstracted, just slabs of paint unconnected to external reality; but when one steps back the scene materializes and becomes the reality one sees in real life. To me, art is transcendental; nature is my spiritual center, and that search for meaning and truth is endless. Painting is an endless search for improvement, and I am learning all the time. One of the best lessons I’ve learned is that we all make mistakes, but it the mistakes that allow us to grow to become better human beings if we learn from them, change our mindset, our attitude, our behavior. With art, this usually means simply not making the same mistake over and over again! I paint because I have to-it’s a big part of who I am. I paint because I am moved by something in nature; it strikes an emotional chord and I feel it on a deep, spiritual level. It’s not the “thing” that I paint that matters, but rather what it means to me. Hopefully my work will strike an emotional chord in others as well, inspiring them to slow down and experience life on a deeper, more meaningful level. Art has power, whether it’s through the medium of painting, music, literature or drama; it moves us beyond the literal, the mundane life in which we live, to a deeper experience of joy and wonder. It makes us feel alive. This is what I strive to achieve in my work.

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.
The Monterey Bay area is one of the most visually spectacular places on the planet, so most of the itinerary would involve visiting and experiencing the natural world nearby. We would start the first day with a walk on the beach that stretches for miles in front of my house; then we would go to Capitola Village and explore the shops and beach before walking along Pleasure Point and returning for lunch on the pier. On the way home we would visit Nicene Marks and hike in the redwoods. The next day we would drive along the spectacular north coast, take a hike in Wilder Ranch, continue to San Francisco to ride the cable cars down to Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch over the water before visiting an art museum. The next day we would take it easy and visit several of the local wineries, tasting wine among the vineyards. The following day we’d go to Monterey and walk along the cliffs and beaches for miles before returning to the wharf for a late lunch. Then a short drive to Carmel Village to visit the many art galleries before dinner in one of the small restaurants. The next day would be a Santa Cruz day with a visit to Natural Bridges State Beach, a long walk along West Cliff along the ocean to the lighthouse, the famous Steamer Lane surfing spot, and end up on the wharf for lunch. Then we’d take sunset cruise on a Santa Cruz 70 sailboat with wine and cheese. The next day a visit to Big Sur and it’s spectacular drive. And there’s more, the old growth redwoods and waterfalls of Big Basin, then dinner at the harbor at the Crow’s Nest to watch the sunset over the ocean. Santa Cruz is one of the most scenic places in the world.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Oh, there are so many people that are responsible for me being able to be an artist: my parents for instilling in me the value of hard work and the value of an education; my wife who has always supported my dreams; a college professor who pulled me aside after class and told me that I had taken enough art classes and that I just needed to paint and loaned me her studio to use for free while she was teaching in Italy (Keep in mind that I already had my BA and MA degrees. I was just addicted to taking more and more art classes.). Then there are the countless artists and art teachers who have always supported me in this journey; and, of course, all the collectors who believed in me and purchased my paintings. I have been so lucky to have had so much support from others in my life. It has made the journey so much easier than it could have been otherwise.

Website: michaelmote.com

Instagram: michael mote

Facebook: michael mote

Image Credits
David Reese Susan Costes-Hoffman

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