“I started watching things evaporate in front of my eyes,” said New York-based artist Michael Alan on his most recent series of unfortunate events. “For two days I stayed [home], didn’t answer my phone and wouldn’t come to the door.”
Last Wednesday, Alan’s home and studio for the past 20 years—a basement purchased and renovated in his parents Staten Island residence to act as their caretaker—flooded with raw sewage. Roughly 2,000 of his 7,000 energetic artworks were destroyed and he had no insurance.
Known for his thread-like line drawings and immersive “Living Installation,” Alan is a major fixture of the New York art scene. His stacked resume includes showings at The New Museum, a performance at the Whitney, collaborations with the late Tommy Ramone and Ariel Pink, and representation by the renowned Gasser Grunert Gallery on Orchard Street.
“It’s been like living in a Polanski film,” Alan said, referencing the flood. “There’s an enlightening and rebirth, but it’s also a one-man disaster. I’m just trying to turn a negative into a positive,” which seems to be a recurring theme is the prolific artist’s life.
Since being struck by a car in 2012, Alan’s been forced to burn his spinal nerves three times a year to manage the pain among other complications. Despite the day-to-day challenges, he remains content, his voice brimming with honesty and the hope that artistic creation is the key to getting healthy again.
His art is entirely of the moment, centered on losing yourself in the whirling and winding intricacies of the human condition. The weak lines he so feverishly puts to paper gain strength as they gather on the page, weaving and dancing among each other. This is the ethos of Michael Alan: strength in numbers—a belief that by banding together in love, light and art, there is nothing man cannot overcome.
That being said, it is time we band together to support a member of our creative community. Alan is selling a selection of works at reduced prices in order to recover from the flood. In addition to the sale, he’s set up a GoFundMe page. Earnings will go directly toward the restoration of his home and ruined works. “I live to keep this world pushing,” Alan said. “Live now, live free [and] live a good life. These kind of tests, if you can survive them, make you understand life, and help you to work and use the good and the bad equally.”