self taught contemporary folk artist from michigan.
Irene Gates is a self-taught contemporary folk artist living in Douglas, Michigan. Born in Illinois in 1957, she grew up surrounded by creativity passed down from her artistic family.
Gates seeks to pull from everyday life to create fantastic folk art scenes that tug at the imagination. She creates contemporary folk art using mixed media, including old and new papers, fabric, acrylic paint, chalks, colored pencils, and oil pastels. Her images focus primarily on the female form engaging in nature. Her influences range from masters like Modigliani to doll artist Akira Blount.
Gates's philosophy of art is inspired by how a simple moment in our everyday lives can become a whimsical story. She joyfully relays these stories on her multi-layered canvases. Her goal is to share these moments with others and make people smile.
"I work with care to create contemporary folk art that people can connect with and share a smile," says Gates.
Gates has 30 years of experience exhibiting her work throughout the United States both in private galleries and public art shows, ranging from Tucson, Arizona to New York City.