With familiar materials and techniques, I make objects and images that are often simultaneously haunting and playful. Employing absurdity, obsessiveness, and abnormal juxtapositions my work explores social connections and personal space in both tiny delicate sewn drawings and large knitted environments and sculptures. I am interested in the memories invoked by the smell of the pieces, the desire to touch and climb into the forms, the heavy sag of textile that elicits a sigh. I straddle beauty, whimsy and content with pieces that may resemble arms, columns, trees or stalactites. The forms I knit either alone or in groups are often made into immersive installations. The scale, the abstraction of the forms, the muffling of sound, and the smell of thrift stores invite multiple narratives. I encourage the desire to touch the work, a common response to the familiar materials. The spaces become a combination of memory and place, both familiar and not, referencing the individual and collective process.

The act of gathering people to make something has become a large component of my work. It has been a natural progression mixing my years as a public school art teacher, my social responsibility and my studio work   I have found the commonality of the desire to make something unites very different types of people, not unlike eating at a communal table. In an age of virtual and light-based encounters spending a sustained period of time using repurposed materials to make something with your hands becomes an almost counter-culture event. There is a tangible mark made for every person’s moment of time spent on the knitting loom- an accomplishment, an investment, and also a recognition of that time passing. The work becomes a collection of all of those moments and the stories shared between people as they knit together, enhanced by the history held in the used t-shirts.



Selected Exhibitions

 2017       New Contemporaries, San Diego Art Prize  CM Curatorial, San Diego, California  
                domesticACTion  Art Produce Gallery, San Diego California
                River   Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside, California   

2016        UnRest: Carrie Minikel, Michelle Montjoy and Lissa Corona  Linksoul Lab/Hill Street Country Club, Oceanside, California
                Flat Earth  Ship in the Woods, Escondido, California                           
                Looking Back/Forward: 20 years of Art Produce  Art Produce Gallery  San Diego, California   

2015     Cannon Invitational  Cannon Gallery, Carlsbad, California
             So Many Hours in the Day, interactive installation   PaseoTaos, Taos, New Mexico
             so many hours in the day   Art Produce Gallery  San Diego, California                                             
             The Pit Bull Licked the Baby’s head and Scented it with Ham   Rotunda installation Athenaeum Music and Arts Library  La Jolla, California

2014       2014 Juried Biennial  Cannon Art Gallery, Carlsbad, California
               You Are the Doorway  One Beat Festival, Albuquerque, New Mexico
               Twenty Second Annual Exhibition  Athenaeum Music and Arts Gallery, La Jolla, California

 2012       Michelle Montjoy and William Feeney  Hanson Scott Gallery  Seattle, Washington

 2010       wHole: Michelle Montjoy   Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside, California


2017          Ipark Foundation Artist Residency  East Hadaam, Connecticut
                  San Diego Art Prize nominee- Emerging Artist category
                  California Arts Council/ Artists Engaging Communities grant with Art Produce Gallery
 2016          Creative Catalyst Grant awardee  San Diego Foundation    Project: River
Held 33 workshops, engaging over 1000 people from  local communities-knitting together on hand-built tabletop looms- culminating in an exhibition at Oceanside Museum of Art           

2007,2008     Painting’s Edge artist residency Idyllwild, California

Teaching, Speaking, Projects

2016-17                Artist talks/panel discussions: San Diego State University, San Diego Art Institute, Cal State San Marcos, Miracosta College, Canyon Crest High School

2014-present       Visiting Artist/instructor:  Lux Art Institute, Encinitas, California,  Athenaeum School of the Arts, La Jolla, California

1998 -2014          Teaching Artist   Monte Vista Elementary  Vista, California
2005-2007         Art Instructor: Studio Art, Drawing and Painting   Guajome Park Academy,  Vista, California  At Guajome 

Facilitator: Community Art Projects

 Around the Corner; a drawing dialogue between 3rd graders at Monte Vista Elementary and Drawing 3/4 students at Eastern Illinois University  

Uncommon Core; exchange of questions and drawings between 4th graders and Drawing 2 students at Eastern Illinois University

Interchange; Elementary students ask questions and get assignments from Anne Mudge, Roman DeSalvo, Colter Jacobsen, Ruby Osorio and William Feeney

Espero Sparrow; Guajome Park Academy with Art21: examining identity located in wish, students collected 3000 responses from the community, placed them in a giant piñata which was opened at the city parade.

Co-facilitator: Community Art Projects:  1+1=1, Coordinates and Request

2005-2007     Commissioner, Vista Arts Council  


In Collections of

 Fran Preisman, Betti-Sue Hertz, Erika Torri, Bianca Juarez, Tyler Blik and Sonya Devine, Greti and John Baez



Culture Report: We Reap What They Sew   Voice of San Diego   Kinsee Morlan  March 21, 2017

Michelle Montjoy at OMA  SDvan  Picked RAW Peeled  Patricia Frischer   March 26, 2017

2017 Art Preview  San Diego City Beat  Seth Combs  January 2017

Creative Catalyst grant recipients announced San Diego City Beat  Seth Combs June 28, 2016

Five local artists receive Creative Catalyst grants  San Diego Union Tribune Susan Myrland July 6, 2016

River Will Soon Flow at OMA  Oside News  Bobbi DeBoer  June 29, 2016

Creative Catalyst: Where Arts and Community Collide  SDFoundation News   June 2016

The San Diego Foundation awards $100,000 to local artists  TSFD News June 8, 2016

 Education   B.S.  Illinois State University    Visual Arts/Visual Communications

 contact: michellemontjoy01@gmail.com

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