Over the Moon A conversation with local artist Micah Moon, whose debut exhibition premieres Aug. 6.

By Ana Hart



micah

Micah Moon looks like he’s just walked off a movie set, or perhaps time traveled to 2016 from the early 1970s. Though unconventional, his look is incredibly put together—something he attributes to his “terrible driving need” to look his best every moment of the day.

“I always say that you never know what is going to happen, so you might as well dress every day in the clothes you want to be found dead in,” he says with a laugh.

His dedication to his aesthetic is fitting: Moon is also a visual artist, and this Saturday, August 6 marks the beginning of his debut exhibition, running through September 1 at The Laughing Pint in Highlandtown. The show will feature the intricate drawings he’s been working on for the last year and a half. It also marks his first official foray into the family business—his parents are both visual artists, and as Moon says, “I learned to hold a pencil properly before I learned to hold a fork.”

I sat down with him to learn more about the pieces, as well as chat art, inspiration and dressing for success.

Gathering No 366
Gathering No 366

 

Ana Hart: Where did you first find inspiration? Where do you draw it from nowadays?

Micah Moon: My early inspiration was definitely the work of Edward Gorey. One of my earliest accomplishment (besides being able to recite the entirety of Wizard of Oz at age four) was memorizing The Gashlycrumb Tinies. I practically slept with the Amphigorey under my pillow. And in a way, that has not changed. I think in terms of inspiration, nothing gets changed, things just get added to. I’m still inspired by the things I’ve always been inspired by, that list has just grown over the years. My parents were big old movie aficionados, and that was definitely passed down to me. I find that I love lots of the images that come out of these old films. The best films are the ones where every frame looks like a painting, even though there is a clear story going on. And that’s one of the things that I definitely wanted to implement into my own work; this sense that there’s a scene going on even if it’s very still, even if it’s internal for the figure—there is something happening. A lot of it, honestly, is based very much in art therapy. I’ve been seeing an art therapist for about eight years now, and I swear it has saved my life. It has added new importance and dimension to my own work. I already knew that artwork, for me, was very therapeutic, but it was nice to finally be able to do it with the intention of it being therapeutic. I think especially with this body of work [at the Laughing Pint], a lot of them are me just working through my own mind, and working through my own problems and anxieties.

"Thinking of you"
“Thinking of you”

AH: What are your plans for your art after this exhibition finishes?

MM: I would love to be able to marry writing and the visual art, as well as hopefully continuing to exhibit my work. I would love to illustrate my own work and to incorporate more of the writing into the work itself. One of my focuses lately has been trying to integrate the two mediums. It’s more of a challenge than I thought it was going to be, especially if I start off with an image and then try and do a story behind it. I find it much easier if I have a story and then decide that I’m going to draw a picture about it. And I find that if I’m thinking about a character that I’m writing about, it helps immensely to draw their picture, because as I’m drawing I really get to know the person.

AH: Let’s talk about fashion. You have great style and finesse with vintage clothing. How do you decide what to wear when you get dressed in the morning?

MM: Usually I’m trying to balance several things while I’m getting dressed in the morning. It’s a combination of how am I going to appease my own aesthetic and this terrible driving need to look my best all the time, and a necessity to keep myself safe on the streets—because as a queer person on the streets in general, it can be scary. It’s definitely a balancing act of remaining authentic to my own style and not painting a giant target on my back. Some days are better than others. In terms of the style itself, it’s hard for me to describe it because I rely heavily on vintage aesthetics, usually somewhere between the early 1960s and late 1970s. That seems to be what I’m drawn to naturally. I’m a big fan of high-waisted pants, and I will admit I do own more than one pair of bell-bottoms. At the same time, a lot of it has to do again with mental health. Having been bullied in school has definitely influenced my thinking about the way I dress and the choices that I make. Part of my style is trying to protect myself from that kind of treatment, and at the same time rebelling against that anxiety and being fiercely authentic almost to spite the naysayers—depending on how brave I’m feeling that day.

Why wont you stay dead No 2
Why wont you stay dead No 2

What are some of your favorite places to shop for clothing in Baltimore?

The Zone on Charles Street. I have been going there since I was in high school. And one of my new favorite places to go to is Bottle of Bread on Park Avenue. They have vintage clothing, as well as local handmade garments, jewelry, and art. I also go to Milk & Ice Vintage on the Avenue in Hampden. I just went there for the first time not too long ago, having discovered them through Bottle of Bread—although I still shop at the Value Village and Goodwill.

Moon studied theater at the Baltimore School for the Arts before going on to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia to study writing for film and television. These days, he is enrolled at the University of Baltimore, where he is pursuing a degree in English with a focus in creative writing.

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