Shilpi Prasad

Michelle Montrose

Hi there! I’m Michelle, and I’m an artist born and raised in San Diego CA. I’m the daughter of a ballet dancer and jewelry designer, so I’ve always been encouraged to pursue the arts. From a young age I showed creative talent in a variety of fields from musical theater to designing barbie clothes. As I aged I decided to pursue the visual arts. My parents convinced our neighbor to teach me and a few other neighborhood kids to draw and paint. Once a week we would walk to her home after school, and work on art projects for an hour. Once I got to high school, I took art as my elective for all 4 years. On the walls of the art room, the teacher had painted the titles of a hundred different art jobs. It was at this moment that I realized art could be my career as well as my hobby.

In 2011 I started my college experience at San Diego State University. I pursued a fine art degree and loved it. My freshman year of college I realized that I should also start to build my network, so that when I graduated I’d have a head start in art world. I made two very important decisions; to join a painting guild with a physical gallery to show my work, and to do one art show a month. By following through on both these decisions, I had a modest network and business plan under my belt by the time I graduated in 2015.

After graduating college, I found myself floundering creatively. Although I loved my art education experience from elementary school all the way through college, the assignments and directives of that instruction left me without a personal voice. Now that there was no instructor to tell me what to paint, I had to figure that out on my own. And that was the biggest change for me.

I decided to apply for a grant, called the Fullbright grant. This application caused me to ask the question, “What do I want someone to pay me to create?” It is now my job as an artist to answer this question with genuine gentleness, and to pursue the work that I am led to create.