With much Aloha I share my purpose for life and my passion for art.

Ever since I can remember I felt the need to be creative in some way. My late mother always encouraged me to follow my heart and my dreams up until the day she died. Watching her take her last breath was the most painful thing I have ever experienced! It taught me how short life really is. From that moment on my life changed forever.

I accepted that I was a creative soul destined to share my passion for music and art with the world. My life took on a purpose. I began to pursue my musical desires by obtaining a position at a world famous recording studio in Los Angeles. A car accident stopped me in my pursuit. I was devastated once again. While recovering, I realized that I was searching for a real mission in life, a way to give back to the world the way I was raised.

However, the next few years after my moms’ death took its toll on me. I was living on auto pilot and confused. I was losing hope in my dreams and became very depressed. I felt so empty and really didn’t want to live anymore. In 1984 I was introduced to Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism and the chanting of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. I learned through chanting that I was in control of my own destiny and I could accomplish anything if I truly believed in myself. I finally decided after several years of meditation and chanting that it was time to live and be creative again!

At 35 I was accepted to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. It was there I found my real passion in art. I wanted to do conceptual design utilizing forms and materials in a way never seen. It was in 1993 when my idea for motorcycle art sculptures was born.

Growing up I was in love with motorcycles. Their shape and speed, the shinny chrome accents, the sweet smell of leather, the gorgeous paint jobs and the unusual tailpipes and gas tanks captivated me. In short I found them to be works of art that until the early 90’s were simply over looked and regarded as a rebellious form of transportation.

I began to delve into ways to create functional sculptures utilizing all the features of motorcycles that I was always in love with. It was the birth of “Motoration”. I sat down one evening and created an entire line of motorcycle furniture sculptures that I received 8 patents for.

After many setbacks, I have been able to physically produce only a fraction of my sculptures. However, thanks to the encouragement of many dear friends, supporters and my Buddhist practice, I never gave up!

Over the years I have been featured in numerous magazine write ups and have hand fabricated eye wear, chess sets and motorcycle sculptures in 5 U.S. Museums. Yet I was still searching for real purpose!

When my loving kitty companion “Peepas” became very ill and accrued a large Veterinary bill that I could not afford to pay, ( my friends came to my rescue), my mission became clear. I decided that my art needed to be for true purpose. I came up with the plan to help provide funding to families in need of help with veterinary bills, thus “Rebel with Claws” was born.

Throughout the years my kitty companions have helped me through the hardest times in my life, beginning with the most devastating time of all; the loss of my family at the tender age of 17. Soon there after I came to the only logical decision, to use my art and the art of other animal lovers to make this foundation, “Rebel with Claws” a reality. Oh, by the way, the name reflects the fighting spirit in me.

It is through my art I intend to make a difference and inspire others to do the same. I am living my dream and following my heart just as my mother always wanted!

From the bottom of my heart, Mahalo

Bene’ Michelle

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