After years of creating visual solutions for clients, Jeanine Michele is breaking into more elaborate projects – construction sites.
My foundation growing up in a family of DIYers, taking shop class in junior high, getting a BFA in Fine Arts and heading off to Italy has definitely influenced my design style along with my understanding of how things get done. In my early career, decorative and commercial painting was my medium. I am now taking things to the next level. Where my medium used to be paints, and installations or happenings, I am now concentrating on the creation and execution of physical spaces on a larger scale.
Marcel Duchamp was a huge influence for me. He challenged the notion of what exactly art is. I started thinking of art differently. Never much for convention, I let my imagination take me beyond what I knew, and it opened me up to some great experiences. My fascination with conceptual art played a vital role in my development both artistically and personally.
Another influence was a happening I curated called “1913” which was held at a restaurant in Los Angeles. It was a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, but I created an entire happening event that was bigger than just selling the art on the wall.
I moved to Italy in my mid 20s, which is a pivotal point for many in defining who you are and what influences you in life. I lived and breathed Italy. The style, the craftsmanship and the teaching of knowledge passed down from generation to generation. Having lived in Italy for 25 years, having been able to work and learn Italian art from Italian artisans and high-end art dealers…now I want to go further with my knowledge. Italians have a unique perspective and style that I would love to carry through to the United States and elsewhere.
In Italy, I was given a series of books from the Banca San Paolo. The first was about affrescoes of 1200. It hit a profound chord. I ended up studying affresco at il Laboratorio di Affesco di Elena e Leonetto Tintori in Prato.
Early on in my career as an artist, a collector had this to say about me – “E’ come Jeanine e l’opera d’arte.” = It is as though Jeanine is the art object. I was very pleased with this interpretation. This is an accurate REALIZATION of who I am. It was very encouraging and put into words what I had been feeling.
In 2008 when the financial crisis hit hard I was working in the yachting industry. My plan was to do art consulting for the yachts. A captain had told me to take on whatever jobs I could find on the boats. So, I did. I even went to the Monaco Boat Show with my stylish little postcards and passed them out. But as September came and went, the economic crisis got worse so I decided to change gears. I ended up in law school at the University of Pisa.
Another huge influence on my life and perspective.
The Jemellaggio project is the result of a project that came about through people I met while attending school.
Recently I was working with an Italian pool company doing consulting for them in regard to expanding to the U.S. markets. And in-house marketing for their brand. I was also able to go to a particular construction site they had underway. Often, I had worked on construction sites for painting work. I rediscovered my love for building. In this instance, it was pools. The forms light plays in the design of the final pool made me want to design bigger and different. Construction materials are the natural progression for me.
My strength in developing concepts and carrying them out is evolving…to encompass the medium of commercial and residential construction. A few years ago, I decided to ship most of my personal items back to the U.S where I had asked my Mom to let me build a space to store everything. Of course, it evolved to a more elaborate and detailed project that allowed me to create my first construction project of my own.
I am developing the space to be a showroom for Italian things. One thing has led to another and I am very enthusiastic about the direction my life is taking. My eye for color and visual design is a strong driving force. Paired up with the grounding studies that law school offered, I feel a good balance upon which to build my own company.
Annunziata de Comite has been a good friend for many years now. We met in Florence when she was still studying architecture at the University of Florence. She helped me in designing the planimeter for Thermae Smerlado Coast when I needed an actual architectural drawing to illustrate plans for a wellness center for the U.S.
My sister Lynn has always been supportive of me. Getting to work with her on developing Jeanine Michele Enterprises is a special treat after living apart for so many years. Her talents definitely make a difference in the collected professionalism we can offer our clients.
It is a bit challenging trying to fit it all together. But it keeps growing, so we are obviously headed in the right direction.
I will never be that everyday person living in a box.
I will always be more successful at doing the impossible.
Thinking up the design, attention to the details and making it come to life on a big scale is where I want to go now. So, stay tuned and keep up with me for the next wave.