The five paintings of the Evolution Series were designed with a sense of continuity in mind. Each painting is intended to lead into the next with subtle transitions of shapes and color. Some lines carry into the next or continue from a previous painting, some shapes are echoed throughout the series. The pieces are interpretation of the theme of "Evolution" - whether that be the evolution of Spirit, an individual or the human race.
The little figure in the center, with its guiding spirits hovering over it, is leaving home. It has no eye or perspective of its own yet. It has been inundated with the thoughts and concepts of everyone and everything else - governments, schools, parents, religions, institutions of this or that - and all the eyes in the flames burning away are what have taught us how to think, act, and be in the world.
Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants
That first big wonderful act we experience of stepping out on our own can be like riding a great wave, standing in the center of the vast spiral and seeing as far as we can see. Our hero now is facing into the future while the eyes, the perspectives it has left, near the bottom left of the painting are facing into the past. The title of the painting is based on Isaac Newton's quote: "If I have been able to see further than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants." The "giants" are all the people who have come before us - the people who made the discoveries and created the art and music, computers and file formats, cars and planes and countless mechanisms that make up our lives - everything - and we get a chance to stand on that precipice, riding that wave of creation to look a bit further and see what we can see.
The Beautiful Distraction Of Mental Technology
We stand in the center developing our "I": our perspective, our systems of belief, and our identity based on those beliefs that now takes solid form. We begin to break down the spiral, compartmentalizing the various sections and segments, naming this or that, allowing all of it to flow in and out of our identities. Truly, we'd like to say "this is me" or "that is me" but it has come so quickly and we are looking outwards so much that, in all that identity deciphering, we miss the foundation of Love we are resting upon, thus: the beautiful distraction.
I Am All Of Those Lifetimes
As we progress through the cycle - leaving our space, riding the wave, breaking it down, again and again - we begin to realize that this is going to happen continuously and we begin to understand that our identity does not begin or end with any one aspect, emotion, or perspective. In fact, it is all of those things - and we are all of the lifetimes, all of the moments, that make up that process. We are all the giants and all the perspectives, and all the waves, always leaving it behind, always coming into contact. The figure in the spheres is rolling over, waking up, stretching, finally sitting with an eye in the center of the heart, creating a sense of wholeness.
There Are No Loose Ends
When we find our center, we begin to break apart and our sense of identity and "self" dissolves into everything. There is nothing "extra" in the universe. It is all here for some purpose. There are no loose ends. Our wisdom merges with the oneness, our hearts and minds dissolve, things break apart and we no longer look around trying to decipher, figure it out, etc. It is what it is. On the beach - spirals of waves crashing ashore, one after the other. When we enter that oneness there is no longer "we", no longer "I" and, yet, when we say "I've done it!"... we begin all over again.... When the I returns, that is our edge and that is what we need to work on. Thus, this entire series is one long process, one long cycle that begins again.
The seven paintings of the Tarot Series were created for Burton Snowboards with their design firm Jager Dipaola Kemp. The paintings are based on Alestair Crowley's Thoth Tarot Deck. Seven cards were provided as inspiration. The deck is, overall, very dark in it's imagery. I sought to transform Crowley's and Lady Frieda Harris' interpretation of the Tarot into something lighter, more uplifting and all together more youthful. The resultant paintings were featured on, I believe, Burton's Supermodel Snowboards.
The Dancer Paintings were painted on the Big Island of Hawaii during the winter of 2000. The series was commissioned by K2 snowboards for their Eldorado model. Each piece measures 68" tall and 24" wide on masonite and, like all of Michael's work, was painted 100% by hand with acrylic paint and brushes.
This gallery offers a glimpse at some of the pieces I've created in the live setting. The pieces here have been created at festivals, in clubs, and alongside live bands. The energy of the setting - the music, the crowd, the space - is an important part of the inspiration and journey of each piece. It's been a pleasure to create these works before an audience and share that magical creative journey with others.
Over the past year or two I have created an increasing amount of "Live Art" pieces. I felt for a long time that my process tended towards the studio; my detail work and layering processes don't translate well sometimes in the more spontaneous motions of live painting performances. I've been drawn into live painting because of the spontaneity and freedom it offers. It's a nice balance to the far more patient and careful work I create in my studio. You'll notice that these paintings seem to have more freedom of movement and not be nearly as detail-centric as most of the other work that I do. Sometimes it's fun to break out of that and simply paint in a much more free and expressive manner. The energy of the live setting helps to stimulate that sort of expression.
All of these pieces are painted with acrylic on canvas. Most of them are untitled.