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Michelle Robinson

Our River: city floodplain

Michelle Robinson
"It’s my hope that when people look at the work, they can also feel some of that same emotional pull that I feel and the grief that I have. Instead of moving past these losses, I really want people to dwell on them a little bit, so they can be spurred to take action."

Michelle Robinson, artist

Photo courtesy of the artist



Michelle Robinson is a multi-disciplinary artist and animator. She studied architecture and visualization at Texas A&M University, and holds an MFA in visual art from New Hampshire Institute of Art. She has had her work published in Diffusion of Light, The Hand, Frames, and Precog. Exhibition highlights include solo shows at the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, CO, The Wright Gallery at Texas A&M University, and the Cecelia Coker Bell Gallery at Coker University in NC. She was recently awarded a competitive residency with Kipaipai at the Joshua Tree Center for Photographic Arts. She has been an artist and supervisor with Walt Disney Animation Studios for over 29 years and lives in Los Angeles.


The Los Angeles River, recently named one of America’s most endangered, takes many forms as it passes through the city, from concrete wastelands to a small stretch of semi-natural wilderness. From the beginning of colonial settlement, the river has been a battleground between the needs of industry and the unpredictability of nature. Rainwater is shuttled straight to the ocean instead of replenishing groundwater basins and freshwater marshes. Its current state is a bittersweet compromise that does not fully serve people, wildlife, or the environment. As a result of the flood control measures taken in the 1930s, the riparian habitat has mostly disappeared, and many species of animals have been extirpated from the river. In my work, I want to make such losses visible. By practicing a form of activist melancholia, I want to encourage remembering what came before so we can avoid further damage in the future. Mine is an anti-conciliary mourning, intended less to heal and more to spur action; to not be complacent in the face of such tragedies.

Please follow this link for more information about the natural history and current status of the species portrayed in the "Field Guide to Lost Creatures​" series:


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