Teriz Michael is a licensed therapist and local professional artist who loves to express the complex and delightful experiences of life in a unique and colorful abstract style. Memory, emotion, consciousness, relationships, life events, and spirituality serve as references for her abstract works of art. Teriz creates art for the courageous, the emotional, the intellectual, the philosopher, and the spiritual. Her art is for the collector who knows that art transforms indoor spaces, deepens conversations, adds beauty to life, knits hearts, and inspires the soul.
Teriz was born in Cairo, Egypt and grew up in Jersey City, NJ since second grade. Her intensive studies in Art began during high school at the Visual & Performing Arts High School Magnet Program in Jersey City. Teriz Michael earned a Silas Rhodes Scholarship at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, NY and graduated in 2003 with a BFA in Fine Arts. In May 2022, Teriz completed her MSW degree from Rutgers University with an emphasis on clinical practice.
She also has painted murals in Jersey City, NJ and at St. Simon Monastery in Moqattam, Cairo. Her work in the Zaballeen community of Moqattam paved the way for connecting with Zana Briski (2004 Oscar Winner of “Born Into Brothels”) who awarded Teriz a grant to lead the Kids With Cameras Photography Workshop in Moqattam during 2006. The Kids With Cameras Cairo Photography Workshop opened the door for collaboration with Mai Iskander on her award-winning documentary film “Garbage Dreams”. Teriz also consulted international artists and non-profits on best practices for art integration and advocacy within marginal communities.
Her art education experience includes teaching Art in public, charter, non-profit, and private schools. Teriz is a certified Art Teacher and School Social Worker in New Jersey.
Teriz was recently commissioned by Saint Anianus Coptic Orthodox Church in Monroe, NJ to write their icons [https://sachurch.org/]. Teriz has also exhibited her artwork in solo and group art shows throughout the tri-state area for over 20 years.
Teriz Michael lives in NJ with her husband and 2 teenage children. Teriz is currently working at Rutgers University as a clinical social worker providing intensive psychotherapeutic treatment to young adults and their families. She enjoys writing, acting, gardening, reading, photography, walking, kayaking, and creativity coaching.
In the previous portraits, figures, landscapes, or surrealist I have created there was always a tendency towards abstraction (and an obvious yearning for it). However, after motherhood, and working with young children as an art educator, I had the courage to abandon representational art and cleave to abstraction. Inspired by the innocence and unpretentious manner of children, I was no longer bound by the desire to impress viewers and instead decided to express my inner world and life experiences through the universal language of art.
I learned from children to freely capture the essence of my subjects and importantly to delight in the process of creating art with humility and a sense of wonder. Their intense level of engagement encouraged me to let go of the impressive and embrace the expressive in a playful manner.
Unlike my previous approach which included planning and sketching thumbnails for my paintings, my current abstract paintings evolve while in progress. No initial sketch is prepared, or composition is predetermined. I now work intuitively and organically responding to the process with curiosity and courage.
My process mainly rests on two foundations:
1) prayer for divine inspiration prior to and during work, which I learned from writing icons
2) awareness of my internal visual history and language from which certain shapes, lines, and colors are transferred from within and onto the painting.
Each painting has a distinct mood and energy that transforms the space it is displayed in and holistically stimulates the various dimensions of our humanity.
2023: NBAS Oil, Mixed Media, and Sculpture Exhibition