Art Deco. Interview with artist Michael Bell by Isabel del Rio

Art Deco. Interview with artist Michael Bell by Isabel del Rio

Art Deco in the weekly section of American artist Michael Bell on Yareah: MBELLART. Enjoy it!

Hi Michael, some weeks without speaking. How are you?

M.B.- I’m doing great Isabel. I’ve been enjoying the end of summer, and have been doing some inspiring talks with your partner in crime, the great Martin Cid.

I.R.- Of course, I’ve been reading your last interviews on Yareah. A success (even a little scandal) your opinions about Abstraction. Then, another controversial subject. Art Deco, so beautiful and superficial. Since your paintings are so narrative, can you like Art Deco?

M.B.- A little harmless scandal on my hatred of Abstraction never hurt anybody, right? And now you hit me with Art Deco? You just like throwing me from the frying pan into the fire, don’t you?

While my hatred of Abstraction is rooted in my disdain for the whole “Emperor’s New Clothes” school of artists, who in my opinion, have no real “talent” or “technical ability,” you will be surprised to know I actually like Art Deco. The movement itself is represented by luxury, glamour, exuberance and faith in social and technological progress. It’s also epitomized in the architecture, artwork, and lifestyle of the roaring 20’s, which I love!

Take for example, the Chrysler Building in New York City, designed by William Van Allen in 1928, the celebrated art of Tamara de Lempicka and popular television shows and films such as “Boardwalk Empire” and “The Great Gatsby.”

The Chrysler Building, as seen from Empire State Building in June 2005.

The Chrysler Building, as seen from Empire State Building in June 2005.

I.R.- During this summer, the Pinacotheque of Paris have shown a great exhibition abot Art Deco and Art Nouveau. The great figure was Tamara de Lempicka, a trend for current feminists. Do you like her works?

M.B.- I love Tamara de Lempicka and her bold, distinctive style for all the right reasons.  Like me, she too incorporated formal and narrative qualities in her work. She was also a favorite artist among Hollywood stars, like me. Her work was also rooted in drawing and she, too, despised artists she felt drew poorly. Her technique was cleaner and richer in color than the impressionists, yet technically precise and softer than the cubists.

Her mixture of styles, combined with her sensual subjects created a mysterious quality to her work which separated her from her predecessors and made her a pioneer for her time. Also, as a bisexual woman her bohemian lifestyle and scandalous sexual affairs with both men and women made it easy to draw a line from her life to her art. I think if I grew up in her era we would have mingled in similar circles.

You know, curiously enough Isabel, I’m actually friends with Drita Kessler, CEO of DK Art Publishing Inc. – who first introduced me to Lempicka’s art. Ms. Kessler has been Lempicka’s publisher since the early 90’s of rare limited edition Estate of authorized serigraphs. I reached out to Ms. Kessler shortly after our talk about this particular interview on Art Deco and she offered me this to share with your readers:

“Through her vision Tamara de Lempicka was able to bridge the chasm between three genre’s of art: Art Nouveau, Cubism and Art Deco. No other artist male or female was able to assimilate these there completely distinct artistic styles like Lempicka. I also, believe that it was Lempicka’s internal, artistic and sexual struggles as a female artist in a male dominated art world that compelled her to create her own bold original style.”  – References: Drita Kessler/ DK Art Publishing Inc. 2013|

Art Deco. Interview with artist Michael Bell by Isabel del Rio

My friend, Drita Kessler, with DK Art Publishing Inc. works by Tamara Lempicka in Palm Springs, CA at a Modernism Show.


It’s funny you brought up Tamara de Lempicka, because my latest showing of paintings is this Friday night at the Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of “the Honey Hive” in Edgewater, MD for new Artisan Bakery owner and friend Rachael Powers. The seven original works I’m showing depict the “Seven Deadly Sins in Chocolate.” I will be on hand autographing artist prints for fans from 6 – 9pm. I’m also taking pre-orders in case anyone can’t make it out but still want to purchase an autographed print here:  ( These works, along with my “Cinema of Truth” paintings ( are most closely linked to the sensual style of Lempicka, in color and in theme and are probably as close as I get to my work being linked to anything “Art Deco”.

Facebook Event Invite to RSVP:



There’s also a really sensuous video made by Post Romanticist writer Claudia Moscovici that incorporates my ‘Cioccolato’ paintings in it that your viewers might enjoy:

I.R.- Finally, I must confess that I love Art Deco, especially in decoration. My ideal house would imitate Casa Milà by Gaudí in Barcelona. Do you have preferences to decorate your home? A favorite designer?

M.B.- My style is very eclectic. I enjoy a clean, modern look but I also absolutely love the Old Tuscan style of an authentic Italian villa made modern without its authenticity being negatively influenced. To put it simply – a harmonious mix of modern and classic, complete with stone interior walls, original open fire pizza ovens, vaulted ceilings and the overall feel of opulence and history all at the same time.

View Comments (2)
  • martincid

    As always, great interview, Michael. A real honor to have such an intelligent content for the magazine. Thanks again.

  • Michael Bell

    The pleasure is always mine Martin. Thank you for the honor of sharing my experience, expertise and perspective on art and current trends with your viewers.


is renowned American painter and muralist, famous for his larger-than-life sized narrative series paintings and for his infamous portrait clientele, which includes the late Mob Boss John Gotti, best friend Dominic Capone III (Al Capone’s great nephew) and numerous actors from The Sopranos, Goodfellas, A Bronx Tale and more. Yes, his works are the mirror of a tragic world, but they deepen our human psychology with strong brush strokes and vivid colors, from personal memories and silent echoes, with courage and creativity. Bell was naturally gifted in art and won 1st Place in his first juried art exhibition at age 5. As an emerging artist he spent a lot of his time in and around New York City, studying art with his maternal grandmother, Violet Vallery, a self-taught artist from Lyndhurst, New Jersey. Then, after the still-born death of his sister Amanda and the sudden passing of his Grandfather, a former professional boxer, Bell began to explore life's personal and psychological issues through his paintings. In addition, Bell has written his first screenplay based on the real-life events surrounding his famous "TICKET TO RIDE™" painting series and has won three national awards in 2013. Bell exhibits his large, narrative series paintings in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

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