(Please note, I am unsure the angel depicted above is the sculpture in reference to the quote.)
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. What did Michelangelo mean by this, and how can it be applied to the present day? Anyone can certainly imagine the artist staring, at what would otherwise be a block of stone, and envisioning something else. Something nagged his creative mind and he worked until the angel was "set free." In present day, this artistic mindset can easily be applied. I set characters, emotions, and events free when I write stories. A sketch artist frees their vision on paper. Architects design buildings. A marketing employee puts together a power point presentation. Film, music, toy manufacturing, medical research: the possibilities go on an on. Michelangelo saw something in the marble and didn't give up until he found it. I think this quote is an artistic approach to say go after something that calls to you. Carving stone must've been extremely time consuming. Apply this to present day: take your time; don't rush. Work little by little and your angel(s), whatever they may be, will also be set free.