Freak of the Week ~ Michael Vincent Bushy

Cff:     What is your line of work?  Tell our readers a little about you, and your history. Please clearly state your name, business name, address, telephone, email, website and business hours of operation so they can be included in the blog post.

I am a printmaker and a bookbinder, a figure artist and an art educator.  I teach art full time at Hillcrest Educational Centers, which is a residential school for severely emotionally disabled teenagers (or, at least, that's the broad stroke of it), and I have a second business selling my original art, my hand-bound books, printing, and carving custom stamps.  I live in Pittsfield with my wife, Rebecca, and our two dogs, Frank & GG.  I keep a fully-functioning printmaking studio at 703 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield - which I am in at least one weekday evening and one full weekend day (but usually more) - where I create my own art, and teach printmaking classes through IS183, the Art School of the Berkshires.  I have a website that I routinely ignore (http://www.mvbprintmaker.com), and a facebook page that I am much better at updating (https:www.facebook.com/mvbprintmaker), and can be reached by email at mvbushy@mac.com.

Cff:     Tell a story, have we met? When?  Where?  Who introduced us? Oh, maybe you are my niece, well just tell a little history here.  People love a setting.

We've met.  I helped you get all the pews out of your church, remember?  That was a laugh riot.  I actually stumbled upon your studio during one of your holiday sales shortly after moving to town, a little over four years ago.  Then I got involved with AI, and helped out with some events.  Not terribly exciting, I'll admit.

Cff:     If you had the power to make one change in the world what would it be?

I do have that power.  The most expedient way to change the community, country and world for the better is to empower women.  Vote them into office, hire and promote them into positions of authority, and then actually listen to what they have to say.

Cff:     What is your current passion?

I never tire of printmaking.  Ever.

Cff:     How did you find that passion?

I was fortunate enough to have a printing press in high school.  Once I turned that wheel, I was hooked.

Cff:     Who/What has been most influential in your work?

I've had great teachers, great role models, and studied great artists.  But the person who's voice I trust the most is my wife Rebecca.  She implicitly know what works aesthetically.  I mean, she's got almost 3000 followers on Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/honeybee16/), by basically telling them what is beautiful.  By my tally, that makes her an authority.

Cff:     Where do you find your inspiration/motivation?

Artists don't need therapists.  While that's not entirely true, throwing oneself into their art helps to shuffle off the stresses that come with life.

Cff:     Aside from working, how do you spend your time?

Mostly, quiet time with my wife and our dogs.

Cff:     What is one of your most transforming memories?

The aforementioned press wheel-turning thingy.

Cff:     Do you have a prized possession?  What is it?

I have a spectacular CMC rolling-platen printing press that'll crush a bicycle.

Cff:     Tell about a magical moment that comes to mind when you look back on your life experience.

Let's see... I totally botched my proposal to Becca, so that's out.  Um, I bowled a 240 once?  No.  I lived in a haunted house in New Bedford, does that count as magical?  At least it's supernatural...

Cff:     If you were able to spend an afternoon with anyone – dead or alive, who would it be?  What plans would you make for yourouting?

I miss my father-in-law, Harry, constantly.  I think I miss him more now than I did when he first passed away three years ago.  Not that we'd talk a ton, but he was such a calming presence.

Cff:     What is your favorite color?  Why?

Burnt Umber.  There's such a warmth to it - the reds are perfectly balanced with its earthiness, with subtle notes of chocolate and a warm bone black.  And it's timeless; burnt umber will never go out of style.

Cff:     What is your favorite place  and way to spend time?

I try to live in the moment and enjoy wherever I am at the time.

Cff:     What is your goal or main focus for your next 12 months?

To continue to grow my bookbinding business.  I have a precious small amount of time to spend with it, so I have to carefully consider all opportunities to show and sell - I don't have the luxury to just throw stuff at a wall and see what sticks.

Cff:     Tell about how you imagine the world might look in 10 years.

Ideally, I would like to be living with Becca somewhere with a little bit of space, and keep a studio and gallery space where I can conduct classes, keep residencies, and work on my own art.

Cff:     What/who is your community?

We are very happy with the community we have encountered since moving here from Cape Cod.  This community is very welcoming, and takes you for however you self identify.  When we rolled into town, and I began introducing myself as an artist, people didn't scoff "Well, where's your gallery?", they asked which media I work in.  We've built relationships not just with members of the artistic community, but also within the food culture of the Berkshires.  There's an abundance of young professionals in this area, and enough of them are transplants that one can walk into a bar, a gallery, or a farmers market and engage people without being seen as an outsider.

Cff:     How are you seen within your community?  Do you see your role?

I am the printmaker guy with three names in the vest that binds books.  Ask around.  I've been pretty consistent in branding myself that it's moved past affectation and into compulsion.

Cff:     Do you have an upcoming event or significant happening that you would like to promote with your blog posting?  When?  Where? Details and contact information please.

Nope!  I am trying to use the winter to focus on exploring my etchings, writing my printmaking handbook, building my stock of books back up, filling some custom orders, teaching some classes through IS183, sharpening my tools and... crap.  When you see it all written out like that, I'm really very busy, aren't I?