Arbulu Art Design
By Jamin Pursell
My name is Michael Arbulu. I am the owner and lead designer of Arbulu Art Design here in Richmond. I have been running my studio since 2019. Arbulu Art Design provides custom design and fabrication services for homeowners and businesses in our local community.
My studio was born out of the belief that art can and should be a part of everyday life. My goal is to bring a customer’s unique vision to life, drawing upon my skill in fine art, industrial and graphic design, and fabrication experience. I approach design from the viewpoint of an artist and come up with creative solutions to design challenges big and small, to fit ideas into a myriad of spaces—outdoor decks, custom furniture, art deco pieces, and many other objects.
Embedded into my design process is the knowledge and belief that we work with nature and our existing physical environment, evident in a design aesthetic that favors organic forms and the use of wood, metal, and stone for industrial and architectural applications. As a person who came to the United States from another country, my creations have been about the family I have created here, and the different people who have changed me along the way. I like to use my imagination in all my designs pulling from the forms and shapes of the human body, bones, or muscles.
Lately, I have become attracted to plants that extend that imagining of their hybrid nature. My current inspiration is with cactuses. It is so interesting to me to see how they grow and how they are able to develop with so little maintenance. I am fascinated by how some of them can sprout from a single cutting. It is like they’re communicating a level of stoicism and perseverance in such difficult circumstances with only the light to sustain them. Some of these plants are delicate and require a lot care, and yet they still wilt and die. One surprise for me is the Cactus Rover—out of seemingly nowhere we can wake up in the morning and see a flower that is vibrant and explosive in color and size. Often it seems unbelievable to me that something that has almost no signals will bloom and develop these weird nodules and blossom with so little water or build up.
My favorite place to go in Richmond is along open green spaces that I like to walk along with my wife Kathleen, also an artist, and my sons. I also enjoy seeing the neighborhoods where my children meet and play with their friends. Seeing beautiful gardens and how neighbors express themselves through their homes and yards to bring people together is another source of enjoyment for me. This reminds me of one of my studio’s mottos: “Show us your environment and we will design something for you.”