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DUAL LIVES: from the Streets to the Studio Paperback – June 10, 2017
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From the Back Cover
"No one would accuse Michael Bell of modesty. He is a tough guy with a big heart who cares deeply and sincerely about the power and importance of art to bring communities together and to heal deep emotional and psychological wounds. His connection with and impact on his students is inspirational. In Dual Lives, a very uplifting story unfolds." - ERIC FISCHL, World-renowned painter, sculptor, and bestselling author of BAD BOY, MY LIFE ON AND OFF THE CANVAS
"A life lived in art comes in many forms. Few people have combined more than one of these art-inflected lives into one lifetime like Michael Bell." - JERRY SALTZ, Senior Art Critic, NEW YORK MAGAZINE
"An unusual memoir by a professional artist who has become an inspiring and Award-winning art teacher in public schools full of disadvantaged youth. It is very different from just about any other teacher memoir I have read." - JAY MATHEWS, Washington Post columnist and New York Times bestselling author of WORK HARD. BE NICE.
"Dual Lives is the exciting story of Michael Bell, artist to America's most infamous and art teacher to kids who have scooped up millions in awards for their work. He deftly weaves his poignant personal story with those students who have thrived under his guidance. Discover the keys to your own creativity and mentorship in this unique book." - DANIEL H. PINK, New York Times bestselling author of DRIVE and A WHOLE NEW MIND
"When you think of an artist and creator, you think of Michael Bell. Being an artist is something you're born with. It's talent one has in their blood that drives itself through the human body and puts a thought or idea on canvas for the world to see. I'm so proud of my best friend and brother for his accomplishments. Money can't buy talent. It does, however, buy the talents' creations." - DOMINIC CAPONE, Actor, producer, and great-nephew of late mob boss AL CAPONE
"Art is within all. Our life experience shapes art's form and texture as it inversely changes us. Michael Bell knows the power of an artful life better than most. He has helped countless students find their first steps of self-discovery on their own creative paths. As a mentor, his inspirational approach is made manifest in his protégés as they find something greater within themselves. Art transforms, and Bell is there as lives are transformed by the challenge of growing in the ageless hands of art--and Michael Bell." - DAVID J. LEESON, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer
"Really great work. I love the way he captures someone, in his art and in his book. He is truly an artist with a vision." - JOSEPH R. GANNASCOLI, Vito from THE SOPRANOS, celebrity spokesman and entrepreneur
"While it is true that boxing is about sport and competition, boxing is also about overcoming, building confidence. This book will truly highlight that." - PAUL MALIGNAGGI, 2-time world champion fighter, SHOWTIME/CBS boxing analyst
"Always hang on to what you believe in. Never what you see . . . 'Cause what you see might just be an illusion." - STEVE MARTORANO, Celebrity cook, owner of CAFÉ MARTORANO'S and the real life ROCKY of South Philly
About the Author
Michael Bell is a renowned American Artist, most famous for his gangster series paintings and his infamous portrait painting clientele, which includes John Gotti, Dominic Capone and numerous actors from “the Sopranos”, “Goodfellas”, “A Bronx Tale”, and more. He’s also a father, fighter, boxing enthusiast, anti-bullying and Autism activist.
Bell has also excelled in the field of education, playing a vital role in pioneering the worldwide "Visual Journaling" movement. Bell is a National Board Certified Teacher and a 3-time national award-winning public school “Teacher of the Year” that has been honored with: the Los Angeles Good Shepherd Shelter Community Service Award, the College Board’s William U. Harris Award of Excellence, the NAEA’s National Art Honor Society Sponsor of the Year, the Washington Post’s Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award and the Dr. James E. Douthat Outstanding Achievement Award from Lycoming College. Bell is also a 7-time NAEA Rising Star Award-Winning Art Educator (2010 – 2016) and a 3-time Scholastic Art National Medalist Educator (2014 – 2016).
Bell has a BFA from Lycoming College and an M.Ed in Art Education from Towson University.
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Story telling is a powerful art form. Stories can inspire us, move us and guide us through lifes battles. Stories are a way to reach out to people; they help us make an emotional, deep connection to others. Michael Bell, a nationally recognized educator and renowned artist, is a master story teller. He is able to engage people in powerful ways through the stories he shares in his autobiography, Dual Lives.
All great storytellers since the dawn of time, have dealt with fundamental conflict between subjective expectation and cruel reality. Bell raises the bar of storytelling and changes lives with his compassion and empathy. He paints his profound and inspirational message very simply. It's the stories of our lives that shape us. They define our purpose, our passion and our "why".
Michael Bell develops a recurring theme throughout his book that weaves his personal stories of conflict, educational beliefs, loyal connections and career successes into an intricate tapestry. He places emphasis on a critical component; the art of building & sustaining relationships. Bell discusses his belief, that education and life, is about helping people discover, refine, and develop their gifts, talents, passions and abilities; and then helping them discover how to use those gifts, talents, abilities in ways that benefit others and oneself. He proudly shares with you the accomplishments of "his kids" and their numerous programs & scholarships they've been awarded. As well as, his beloved son's well being and progress after being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit HyperactivityDisorder (ADHD).
Bell continues to mention that the great irony of existence is what makes life worth living and it does not come from the rosy side. He reminds us that the energy to live comes from the dark side. It comes from everything that makes us suffer. As we struggle against these negative powers, we’re forced to live more deeply, more fully. It's this constant battle that leads us to our fullest potential and most glorious achievement.
Dual Lives is a pleasure to read. Bell's style is direct, raw, and lucid. It is written with a great sense of humor too. This warrior welcomes us into his world, his accomplishments, and his battles. You not only feel like a part of his family, but he leaves you wanting another serving of Sunday dinner.
I picked up this book for a very personal reason, the chapter entitled "Angelina". Angelina is my daughter and Michael wrote about the time he spent with her dad and I at the hospital when we found out our daughter was going to lose her battle with cancer at the age of 11. One call from Louie, Angelina's dad and Michael left his family with only the clothes on his back and came to Philly to be with us. For 10 days Michael never left us, he slept on the floor of Angelina's room every night for 10 days and he writes about that time in his book. It gave me comfort to read about that time from Michael's perspective as for me, it was the saddest time of my life and still feels surreal.
Beyond the chapter about Angelina, this book inspired me in ways I would never have imagined. From Michael's passion for everything he does, his art, his teaching, his compassion for his students, friends and his family. The way his life intertwines with so many other rich characters in his book and how he never judges people but instead learns their stories, talks to them, gets to know them.
You’ll learn about Michael’s accomplishments in Art and teaching and you’ll meet many of his students, colleagues, clientele and fellow artists. You’ll also meet Lisa, Michael’s wife and how together they fight for their son Carmen’s well being after being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit HyperactivityDisorder (ADHD).
The first person I bought this book for, besides myself, was a dear friend who also happens to be a teacher. I think all teachers should read this book but I also think anyone and everyone should read this book!
This is a story that would make a great fictional movie but its all non-fiction and Michael's friends, family and associates are all very colorful which makes this a fantastic read!
Buy this book!