Artist Spotlight: Michelle Lawanda

Celebrating Black History Month at Miller Gallery

Happy February, friends! We're celebrating Black History Month with a new mini series from Charleston artist, Michelle Lawanda. We sat down with her to learn a little bit more about her vibrant creations. Read the full interview below!

Meet Michelle:

Michelle Lawanda, also known as Lawanda's Creations, is a lover of colors and fun art prints. Her interest in art began 5 years ago as a hobby but slowly turned in something bigger. Her mediums are sometimes color pencils but mostly acrylic. She creates from the heart and from whatever she's feeling at that time! There is a little something for everyone when it comes to her art. 

MGHow would you define your artistic style? 

Michelle: I would define my style as free spirited, go with my feelings kind of style. I paint from what I am feeling and images that are in my mind. I love color and I love painting portraits of random people that are in my mind. My favorite thing to paint are churches. It's fun to hear when people look at one of my church paintings and say “Hey, I know that church!” or “ Is that the church such and such a place?”

MGWhich artists or creatives/makers have influenced your work over the years? 

Michelle: I come from a family of artists. My father and my 2 older brothers are also artists. So I would have to say all of them influenced me, I am just the late bloomer of the family.  

MG: Are you depicting anyone specific in these Black History Month paintings? 

Michelle: I am not depicting anyone specific in my Black History Month paintings. The paintings are of faces that were in my mind that I created on canvas.  

MGDo you have a message you'd like to share to our readers about being a black artist in Charleston, SC?  

Michelle: Well, I started painting back in 2016. It was sort of a hobby and it helped with my anxiety. I was looking for something to do because my daughter was going away to college. So I started painting and slowly it became a business which has grown over the years and has exceeded my expectations.

I had struggles in the beginning and even now sometimes. Being a black emerging artist in the South isn’t easy. I got and still get overlooked a lot and it's discouraging. I would love to be a world famous artist, but I know that will come in time. So I press on. Along the way there have been more no’s than yes’s. Lot’s of don’t call us, we will call you” or “your art just doesn’t fit", or no call back at all. But I don’t let that stop me. I can’t. I want to set a good example for my daughter.

I have to give a shout out to Sharon at The Station Park Circle in North Charleston, SC. She was the first business to take a chance on me and allowed me to sell my art in her Vintage Store. I can’t count how many times I have run into people when I’m participating in live events and tell me, “I saw your art at The Station”. I will always be grateful to her for that!

Since then, many doors have opened for me. My art is now in two art galleries (The Miller Galley and The Gallery at Sweetgrass). It's still hard for me to believe that! If someone would have told me back in 2016 that my art would be in a gallery, I would not have believed them. I also have some businesses reaching out to me to display my art in their businesses. And I also give back as well. I have donated several of my prints to various organizations for raffles and fundraisers; all for good causes.

MGHow can our creative community better serve black artists in 2023?  

Michelle: It doesn’t take much to help/or assist other black artists. It doesn’t cost anything to share a post, leave a comment under a post on social media, or leave a nice review on their website. Little things like that, mean so much. Also if you are in a position to really help an emerging artist, reach out and offer your business or gallery in order for an emerging artist to display their work. Even if its for a day or two. I guarantee you that would mean so much!

MGAnything else you'd like to share with our collectors?  

Michelle: Just want to thank everyone who has purchased my art over the years and gave me encouraging words. I’m very grateful! Also, you can follow me on social media on Instagram @lawandas_creations and on Facebook at Lawanda's Creations. 

Shop Michelle's mini series and more here!

Thank you for tuning into our artist spotlight and learning more about Michelle and her vibrant artwork. We appreciate all your support! 

For any inquires please email