Michaela Jean Upp is an artist and mother living and working out of San Diego, CA. Michaela Jean graduated with a B.A. in History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley in 2011, and participated in several studio courses during her undergraduate education. She also attributes much of her artistic training to her artist father, who began teaching her the fundamentals of drawing at a young age. Her work has been exhibited throughout Southern California.



My paintings are a recreation of visual memories, mostly positive and mostly from or related to childhood. My hometown of San Diego is my primary muse, and I find her ability to blend with the natural surroundings inspiring. Thus, I often paint inanimate objects working with nature such as sailboats on the bay or bouquets from the garden. However, they are also subjects that heavily relate to my childhood and identity as a ‘San Diegan.’

By way of animated lines and bright colors in surprising places, my work becomes reminiscent of story book illustrations. Repeated motifs that relate to my sense of self link all of my paintings together like chapters in a larger book, while skewed perspectives dismantle any sense of contemporary reality. Often when painting I reference only images in my brain and fine tune the objects that stand out most when I close my eyes. The clearer the image is in my memory, the clearer it is in the painting. The busyness of my compositions are an actualization of my scattered thoughts and jumbled recollection of personal experiences. Ultimately, my work is an exploration of a selfhood by way of nostalgic impressions.


Bio and CV:

Michaela Jean Upp (neé Moore)

b. 1989, San Diego, CA

BA, History of Art, University of California, Berkeley // 2011

"Modernism in France", La Napoule, FR, University of California, Davis // 2009


“Sailing San Diego” // Current Collective // San Diego, CA // June-July 2019

“Mission Federal Art Walk” // San Diego, CA // April 2019

“La Jolla Art and Wine Festival” // San Diego, CA // October 2018

"Artist in Residence" // NES Artist Residency // Skagaströnd, Iceland // September 2018

“Mission Federal Art Walk” // San Diego, CA // April 2018

"50 to Watch" // The Studio Door // San Diego, CA // March 2018

“Winter Featured Artist” // Gallery at Land’s End // San Diego, CA // November - Present

“La Jolla Art and Wine Festival” // San Diego, CA // October 2017

"Summer in San Diego" // Ashton Gallery // San Diego, CA // June 2017

"OB Pier 50th Anniversary Art Show" // Teeter Gallery // San Diego, CA //June 2016

"ILY...ILY Not" // L.A. Mother Venue // Los Angeles, CA // February 2016

"Boca Art Show" // Greenville, SC // November 2015

"Art at Liberty Station" // San Diego, CA // August 2015

"Art in the Village" // Carlsbad, CA // August 2015

"Hermosa Beach Fine Arts Festival" // Los Angeles, CA //June 2015


Teaching and Curatorial Experience

"The Painter of Provence"// Impressionism and Post Impressionism, University of California, Santa Barbara // Guest Lecturer // Summer 2014

"This Was Tomorrow: London 1956 | Geoffrey Holroyd | Santa Barbara" // Art, Design & Architecture Museum // Co-Curator // January - May 2014


Selected Press

"50 to Watch" // The Studio Door's biennial publication // March 2018

“Holiday Gift Guide” // Rising Tide Society and Honeybook // Winter 2017

“Featured Artist Interview” // KUSI News // October 2017

"The Women's Issue" // Maker's Magazine // Summer 2017

"An Interview with Michaela Jean" // Artist Meets Mother // February 2017

"Pacific Beach Seen in Watercolor with Nostalgia" // SDNews.com // April 2016