Michelle Micalizzi, Artist
(All Rights Reserved)

Initially, I thought the topic of this blog entry would be Fearlessly Pursuing Unchartered Territory. As I write this, I am in California checking out the gallery scene for the Art of Fearlessly Doing Business (AoFDB ) California show I hope to do in August 2017. Originally, I had set my sites on Venice Beach specifically for this project but now after seeing how things are laid our here in the LA art world, I am also looking at Culver City and Saint Monica as well. It’s been seventeen years since I let myself dream like this so naturally, the gallery search felt like totally unchartered territory to me. However, the longer I am here and the more galleries I walk into, the more I am reminded that this is not uncharted territory at all. Although California and LA may be new to me; investigating galleries and visiting the art scene, as an outsider is not.

“I dream a lot. I do more painting when I am not painting. It’s in the subconscious.”
~ Diego Rivera

When I graduated from Art school in 1989, I defiantly took the leap my father feared for his only daughter. I moved my twenty-year-oldself to New York City and my adult research and struggle began. At that time, I tried many things that did not work out. One of those things was to apply to and then be denied entry into the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. I knew it was a long shot coming from Rutland, VT and given the number of people with real art résumés who apply. Only fifteen students get accepted every year and the chance of me getting accepted was near impossible. I have always known that in order to win the lottery you have to buy a ticket, that being denied access is part of being successful, and that there would be a lesson for me even in the process of applying. I was not surprised to get denied. Even I knew my work was not ready and now I know I was not ready. Regardless of the Whitney outcome, I embraced my NYC experience and shared a small studio with several other artists in Union Square. I went to openings in SoHo and I visited all the big museums three or more times a week.

I revisited many of those memories as I strolled through the LA offerings. I smiled as I saw a young woman sketching at the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). My husband pointed her out to me later and I said, “Yup, that was me at her age in all the great museums of NYC. Museums provide such a great opportunity to learn.” Prior to the Internet, I spent hours sitting on the floor of many bookstores pouring over every detail of the art scene in NYC. At one point, I lived in an artist colony in Stone Ridge, NY, which is north of NYC and just south of Woodstock, NY (yes, where the concert took place) while I took graduate painting classes at the State University of New York at New Paltz. My intention there was to help me decide if I would get my MFA in painting or not. This is when I chickened out and went with Plan B, a commercial graphic design emphasis. After that, I decided to spend more money on my education supplementing my Bachelors in Fine Art at Pratt Manhattan with Computer Design. What it comes down to is that I feared poverty more than I had faith in myself and my dream. This was the first in many steps of downsizing my dreams toward practicality. I had very few people close to me who understood what it took to be an artist, and then some that were close to me were restrictive intellectual elitists, which caused me to be susceptible to my fear and lack of confidence.

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
~ Pablo Picasso

As I quizzed everyone I encountered in CA about the art scene and asked specific questions about the work I saw on the walls; I chuckled to myself. No, this is not unchartered territory: I have been right here before except I was in NYC and it was thirty years ago. The difference in my approach now is that I am not curbing my actions with thoughts like, “What is the secret password?” or “Who knows the secret handshake and why won’t “they” teach it to me?” Most importantly, much to my amazement, I am not asking myself if I am talented enough, or if people like me, or my art. This time I am in the midst of living the fiftieth year of my life. Over the past three decades I have acquired expertise in important aspects of my life. First, I have proven to myself over and over that I can out work just about anyone and that being a hard worker is a rarity in most fields, not just painting. Secondly, I have something that I totally understand and really feel compelled to say. I tell the story of entrepreneurship because both as an artist/visual journalist and a business executor, entrepreneur’s are my muse AND I include my fellow artists in the entrepreneur category now. Finally, I know that I am talented on multiple levels as an artist and a businesswoman. I realize the last statement is odd to hear if you’re not an artist. Don’t all artists know they have talent? Many people who meet me mistakenly believe that I have no lack of confidence. The reality is that I choose to be fearless because I have no choice. Unfortunately, many of us question our talent, our ability, and ourselves right out of the game. Self-confidence is earned the hard way by many of us. It’s taken me thirty years and a lot of searching to earn mine, and much to my surprise, my confidence was borne from my education as a businesswoman trying to be practical. Odd how our lessons come to us, huh?

“A chicken does not think it has a problem sitting on an egg!”
~ Michael Beckwith

During my trip, we stopped in to hear Michael Beckwith speak at Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City. Now, I don’t share the same opinion with everything that Agape teaches but some components of what is said does resonate with me. Thankfully, I have learned to take what speaks to my highest heart self from many faiths and leave the rest. Beckwith said a few things that made my eyes fill up. Listen to the Dec 11, 11:30AM sermon if you have time because he has some really inspiring messages and observations!

The bottom line for me is that if God wanted this longing that I have to be a working artist to die in me, I would not be having this conversation with you right now. I do not apologize for my belief in God or my inclusion of him in my conversations. If you do not have a higher power that is okay. I am just fully aware that I do and that one (higher power) is the reason for everything. I know now more than ever, that (amid this California search and discover mission) all the years I allowed myself to focus on Plans B-E that God has been preparing me for this moment in my life; and the work I am making and about to make. I needed every single lesson I have learned. Moses had to learn for forty years before he was called to do what was his to do. Now this may seem like nonsense to you but to me it continues to be earth shattering. I am not only working on Plan A again; I am doing it with the lessons I have learned in graduate business school and from the vantage of every safe plan I tried to replace it with that did not go as well as I had hoped. I am recalling, not remembering, who I really am. I am working on Plan A2 now. I am not tossing out my business skills to be an artist, I am integrating them. In fact, I am still looking for one big wow project to keep me enamored with my business mind as well! I will meet that business owner in my travels as a visual journalist this year, I am sure. I do not doubt that meeting because I know we are already on our roads to one another. God has this and so do we!

I have the twenty-six business owners I’ve interviewed for the AoFDB to thank for my courage to revisit Plan A and square it. They all reminded me in their own way that being a chicken shit is quite unacceptable. Just to name a few of the statements that stuck with me, Tim Murphy, former owner and current CEO of Presidential Pools, told me – “You can’t half-ass your plan and succeed, you gotta go all in.” That message was part of every brush stroke I did for his cannonball painting. Najla Kayeem, owner of Kayeem Marketing, told me I had to put my Big Girl panties on and that fear was not even part of the equation. Jackie Wasalek owner, of Splash Printing, stated that sometimes crap happens and we just have to say, “So What.” We don’t let little things derail us completely from the big things. All of the twenty-six fearless business owners who have generously shared their story with me have helped me to recall my own strength and fortitude because I understood and empathized with theirs. They have taught me to let my fear motivate me just like it has motivated them. The unexpected and premature death of my dear friend and client Jim Pfingst, owner of Scottsdale Technology Solutions, was also a gifted musician; and his passing spoke the loudest in reminding me that the time is NOW. As I painted the panel that recognized him, I knew there is no more time to put off the dream God put in my heart as an artist and as a businesswoman. Jim was a man of faith too and we had this conversation often. I know he is cheering me on from heaven for sure!

I should also note another one of my fascinations has been rekindled on this trip to CA: my fascination with technique. I had the opportunity to speak to several artists and gallery owners about how they make their work and why galleries choose certain artists and how their methods play a part in that selection. We all learn from one another.

“Strategy is a commodity, execution is an art.”
Peter F. Drucker

I don’t know which CA gallery I will be working with yet for the AoFDB show, although I have the date set tentatively for August 2017. I do not know who the CA Fearless thirteen business owners will be yet or what industries they will represent. However, I do know that I will find a gallery to represent my work and there WILL be a show in CA. I know that I WILL find thirteen Fearless Business owners to feature in the CA AoFDB project the same way I found the twenty-six business owners I have featured so far in AZ: one real human being at a time. I know this because I have a plan and I will execute it. Given all these years since art school; one of my biggest knowing’s is that I fearlessly execute and fearless execution is indeed an art.

When I returned to Arizona I was hot pursuit of the Gallery that will host the 2017 AZ AoFDB show. This year the show will be returning to {9} The Gallery. It is hard to believe that Sunday was the year anniversary of the first Art of Fearlessly Doing Business show at the {9}. {9} The Gallery Owner, Laura Dragon and I met last week and have set the AZ date for the first Friday in May. Today I set my schedule for the show and as always it is rather aggressive. If you are a business owner on my waiting list, please expect my call to see if this year’s time frame works for you and your guests. If you have a rock star business owner who you want to nominate for the AoFDB, please send me an email soon since the thirteen spots fill up quickly.

This year I will be capturing the show images and commentary so that they will be available as posters, a book, and greeting card line in real time. Cards and prints will be available for the show and orders for the book will start immediately with my first post. The 2015 and 2016 books will also be available for purchase and order during the 2017 show, as well as greeting cards that are in production at this time. I will be building relationships with stores that sell greeting cards in the second quarter of 2017 and choosing an e-commerce partner as well.

The Fearless Pop Ups are also in motion and more details about those 2017 shows will be revealed in this blog over time. In total there will be 5 Fearless Pop Ups with the Grand Closing being again at {9} the Gallery on the first Friday in November. See the Schedule below.

In conclusion, my trip to CA was yet another inspiration that highlighted the fact that I am not dragging my green, uncertain feet like I did the first time I chartered these waters in my 20s and 30s. My time being a businesswoman and making other people succeed has made me hungrier than I ever have been with the skills and confidence to execute; skills I did not have as a young artist with no voice and limited business experience. Now, I embrace the knowledge that all I have to do is trust God, fearlessly execute, and the results will follow.

Here is a link “Los Angles Art Road Trip” Photo Album if you want to take a peak. I would also like to send a big huge thank you to my husband for taking five days off to be there for me so I can get back to Plan A.


Illustrations Story:

My paintings this week were created using handmade paper purchased from Hiromi Paper International in Santa Monica. They are still multi-media but when I work on paper my primary medium is either guache or watercolor. This may appear to be a different style to you compared to my other recent works which are primarily acrylic on wood panel. However, this is a familiar technique to me. I always travel with one or both sets of paint, a pencil, a black thin marker, colored pencils and a few brushes. My work as an artist started as journal entries and cards/gifts to the people I love. I have always make one or two paintings when I travel.

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
~ Pablo Picasso

The first primarily watercolor I created as a gift while in California for my dear friend and mentor Barbara O’Conner. I had a fated opportunity to hear Barbara speak sixteen years ago when she was about the same age that I am now. I immediately introduced myself to her and she has been a huge influence on my life ever since. Her most outstanding trait is that she is exceedingly kind; she is also a great mother and grandmother, a tenacious loving wife, and a freaking fearless over the top good woman. Barbara decided she wanted to change her life and become an attorney; so she put herself through Law School and studied her ass off. Some idiot told her she should not push herself so hard and just settle on being a paralegal. She said, “I don’t want to be a paralegal. I want to be an attorney.” And she became a GREAT one at that; one who has represented clients at the Supreme Court level. Barbara has been an example of the change that I want to see in the world to me. This first watercolor is sitting on Barbara and David’s kitchen table as a thank you for believing in me even when I have been at my worst and even more importantly, when I have been at my best. I have found that people who love you when you shine are the real keepers!

“Call it an over statement but I will say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start WWII then it was for him to face a blank square of canvas”
~ Steven Pressfield , The War of Art

Today’s primarily guache painting is an example of how I would have journaled if you were all not watching me. This is how I let my mind wander and come up with ideas – I doodle. This painting is an example of a visual brainstorm for my 2017 Business Plan which includes 8 shows that I will be curating and taking part in as an artist and an art rep for 30 artists. From this doodle the calendar has been set for 2017.

This morning I got an email from Jeffrey Davis. I discovered Jeffrey and his 2017 Quest last month when I researching an upcoming blog about creativity and resting. I will be chatting in January with Jeffrey about our similar approach to creativity and business. The Quest focus this week is being held back. One of his Questers Desiree Adaway owner of the Adaway Group proposed this question this week “Do you find that some systems’, institutions’, or traditions’ sole purpose and intent is to make you smaller?” Desiree’s company focuses on helping organizations to be more inclusive. #Quest2017 #Held Back

Ironically, this week’s blog is just about that – being “held back”. Sure, I can blame institutions, traditions and systems. There is always someone or some thing to blame. Ultimately blame is the thing that holds most people back though. It is my belief that who or what is to blame for me dragging my feet is meaningless and irrelevant. Ultimately I am accountable for actualizing my own dreams. My dear friend Barbara modeled for me that no one can make my dreams happen but God and me. If I am not a participant in my destiny then God has given me the power of free will and he will lovingly watch me choose to let my life pass me by. It is my choice just like it is yours. At one point we have to stop saying we have been held back, grow up and take full responsibility for ourselves. There have been and will be a lot of people telling me to think and be small. Staying small has never been a long-term game plan of mine. I want be an example of the change I want to see in the world just like my dear friend Barbara is.

In this image I am literally being held back King Kong style. I have drawn and painted this figure since I was 10 years old. The hand can be one of many resisters in my life but more often then not the hand that has held me back has been my own succumbing to internal resistance. Steven Pressfield in his book The War of Art states “Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet.” He goes on to say that “Resistance is faster then a speeding bullet, more powerful then a locomotive and more powerful to kick then crack cocaine.” I agree whole-heartedly. The fence and the house is the dream of the white picket fence and the family that I wanted desperately but never had. Truth be told, my unborn children were my biggest resistors. Poverty was not an option for me as mother. If I had known that I would one day choose to not have children my life would have pursued this dream earlier. The boats or submarines are the AoFDB shows, the Fearless Pop Ups and the Fearlessly Turbulent show – they are the vehicles I am going to war with this year. The little circles are all the parties I am collaborating with. To me success has always been about community and lifting as many people up as possible. The divers are a rough of my Fearlessly Deliver business logo. She is taking the fearless leap. She is relentlessly diving in over and over and over again.

Where my business and art goes next unfolds weekly in this blog. One thing is for sure though. I no longer hide my light, my darkness, my voice and my intellect in my journals. Now every 8-10 days or so I share them with you!


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Michelle Micalizzi is a Visual Journalist, Curator & a Business Executor. Her company Fearlessly Deliver, LLC believes that Art is Business and Business is Art! Michelle uses her ability as a Visual Journalist in her Art of Fearlessly Doing Business Series to tell the story of Entrepreneurship and she is the curator of the Fearless Pop Up Projects.

fearlesslydeliver.com | michelle@fearlesslydeliver.com | 480.526.2609





Fearless Pop Up Schedule


Pop Up










Location TBA TBA TBA TBA {9} The Gallery
Date March 9 May 8 July 20 Sept 17 Nov 3
Time 5:30 – 8:30PM 5:30 – 8:30PM 5:30 – 8:30PM 5:30 – 8:30PM 5:30 – 8:30PM



Art of Fearlessly Doing Business Schedule


AoFDB Arizona California
Location {9} The Gallery
Phoenix, AZ
Gallery: TBA
Venice Beach | Santa Monica | Culver City, CA
Date May 5, 2017 Tentatively Aug 31, Sept 1 or 2
Time 5:30 – 8:30PM  Tentatively 5:30 – 8:30PM
Charity TBA



Michelle Micalizzi Shows


Fearlessly Turbulent


Kleidon | Kaminski | Micalizzi

A Conversation about Choas vs Control

Location Gallery: TBA
Date Tentatively Oct 6, 7 or 8
Time 5:30 – 8:30PM
Charity TBA



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