Riverside Artswalk has been a key component of the arts and culture in Riverside since its beginning in 2001. The ever-growing community event celebrates the diversity of arts and culture in Riverside and the Inland Empire and unifies the many local museums, galleries, and studios, as well as other businesses in the downtown area. Many artists have established their footing in the art world by participating in the event, either through the galleries and museums or by setting up to display and sell their artworks in the Artist Vendor Lot.
Under the umbrella of the Riverside Cultural Consortium and the Riverside Arts Council, a new program has been launched to help boost the visibility of its artists and the arts community with a monthly artist spotlight. The program kicked off in August with Michael Notarianni, a regular artist vendor at the Riverside Artswalk Artist Vendor Lot, since 2016.
Michael is a mixed media artist who was born and raised in Riverside. He has been creating art from the time he was 15/16 and is currently working and creating art alongside his wife Ashley as Ghoul Vibrations. Michael has exhibited his work at the Riverside Artswalk, Gramercy Gallery, as well as various events and conventions. Michael sculpted for the first time when he took ceramics in high school, and immediately fell in love with the medium. It was in fact, his ceramics teacher that introduced him to the Riverside Artswalk in 2009. After high school, with no access to a kiln, Michael was unsure of how he would be able to continue working in ceramics without attending college and began to focus his creativity through photography. The passion to sculpt never faded, however, and in 2016 he found a way to sculpt again.
As an artist, Michael finds inspiration to create from a variety of sources such as nature and other artists, but mostly from music. Music helps to set his mood as he allows the music to flow through him and into his work. Creating artwork is his form of meditation and stress relief – while he creates, his focus quiets his mind, and he feels as if the outside world no longer exists. As such, Michael spends much of his free time creating, outside of his time at work and other day to day responsibilities. Michael's ultimate goal in pursuing his artistic passion is to make creating art his career. Michael has shown his work at Saturation Music & Art Festival, the Los Angeles Comic Con, DesignerCon, Gramercy Art Gallery as well as various music and art shows, in addition to the Riverside Artswalk. Through the Riverside Artswalk, Michael has achieved personal and artistic growth based on the opportunity to show his artwork and connect with other artists and art lovers in our community.