If ever you’ve felt like you’re stuck in a job that doesn’t make you happy and lack the skill or the means to do something completely out of the realm of what you know, then this story is for you. Malaysian born Mishell grew up in a household where art was somewhat discouraged and went on to study Maths, Operational Research, Statistics and Economics (MORSE) at Warwick University. From there she made her mark, first as a Chartered Accountant and then as a Management Consultant in London. This career path took her on to Zurich where she met her husband. While highly successful, Mishell was becoming aware that the role she was in was not making her completely happy so she decided to take a career break, working in a restaurant as a Chef De Service and Assistant Restaurant Manager. Food had always been a passion for her and working in that environment was a real joy howevever, after six months, she and her then fiancé decided that they wanted to explore a little bit of the world. They gave themselves six months and embarked on a trip through Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. But not before moving up their wedding by six months. You can only imagine the scrambling that occurred to pull together their wedding within six weeks of making their decision!
Once wed, Mishell and Pascal indulged in a bit of wanderlust. A journey that took them to seven countries and two continents before ending up in Singapore. Coming back to her cultural heritage was important to Mishell, having never worked in Asia though she was born and grew up in this region. She again took a role in Management Consulting, sliding right back into her original career path. Unfortunately, her company decided to retrench her entire department and Mishell found herself looking for a new role while at the same time being newly pregnant.
It was during this time that she started having a reoccuring dream of red poppies on a fiery background. As she told friends about the dream she had been having, she was encouraged to paint it and eventually found herself at Arteastique where she taught herself, for the first time, how to paint with acrylic and on canvas.
This was the beginning of her career as an artist. So many success stories start this way but for Mishell, it all, truly, began with a dream. While she painted her poppy and then two more consecutive poppies to make a set of 3, she was also in nesting mode, waiting for the birth of her first child. She wanted a room full of happy, childish colours. While many new parents were looking for nurseries that fit their own personal aesthetics, with neutral colours and styles to suit the rest of the home, Mishell’s focus was intently on what her child might be drawn to – bright colours, vibrant prints, happy themes and pictures to nurture and inspire the imagination. Unable to find exactly what she had in mind, she decided to try her hand at producing what she imagined for her first son. The result was her signature piece, “Choo Choo” which brightens up her now 4 year old’s room, along with a set of animal alphabets of his name. From there, she started receiving requests for personal commissions and in that way Milc by Mishell was born.
Mishell’s work is still very much tailored towards a child and more importantly, personalised for the child that the painting is commissioned for. She gets to know the wants and likes of the little person, finding out what inspires them and things they dream of seeing up on their wall. From there, she carefully plans out each piece of work, personalising it with a their name or date or phrase requested by the parent. Each commission can take up to six months to complete, working with acrylics on canvas, Mishell builds in texture so that a child can touch and feel their own piece of art. These commissioned works become the basis for some of her limited edition prints that are reproduced on canvas and fine art paper to retain the quality and textural feel of a hand painted work of art.
As with any artist, Mishell continues to explore. While focussed on the realms of childhood happiness and producing work that would delight any little one, she let us in on her ultimate fantasy which she called “slightly crazy” but we think is absolutely amazing. Imagine a room or shop of wonders that a child could enter to mix and match their favourite characters, backgrounds and effects. They could then produce their own, interactive and bespoke piece of work to take home with them. What a great way for a child to explore their creativity and surround themselves with happiness.
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