Mike has long found inspiration and beauty in the nooks and crannies of ordinary life, painting the untold stories of people he’s encountered throughout the years. Although Mike won an award for his art at 12 years old he really began to shape his style while studying with a portrait artist at Boston’s, Fenway Studios. Robert Cormier taught in the spirt and style of the 19th century Ecolé Des Beaux Arts where Mike truly learned how to draw, paint and compose. Moving to Manhattan, Mike began developing his own personal approach to painting in a West Village art community while also continuing his studies at the School of Visual Arts and in private sessions.
Mike's original inspiration came, while working as a mental health counselor in a locked psychiatric facility in Boston. Mike observed the difficult, yet moving stories of his patients and understood that these people had faded from the world and their personal stories went untold. Remembering each one of those patients, Mike began documenting his series of psychological portraits, titled "Small Stories".
What interests Mike is how memories triggered by human senses can create an emotional experience connected to the past enriching the present. To demonstrate this, Mike created an interactive installation that explores and illustrates how the senses of vision, scent and sound can trigger specific memories of influential people from our past. It's an act of homage while also reflecting our connection to them.
Mike places his wooden portraits into an enclosed plexiglass container filled with seawater that dissolves the portraits into pulp over several months. Attached to the plexiglass container is an iPod filled with snippets of recorded conversation and music representative of the subject. Also attached to the container is a box filled with a scent from the subject’s life, such as musty books, tobacco, cologne or a specific brand of gum. As in real life our visual memories of even the most important people fade, Mike's portraits also disappear, leaving only the scents and sounds which serve as powerful memory triggers to remind us of that person’s existence and influence. When we come across those scents and sounds in the real world we are gently shocked into a memory and reminisce and appreciate that person. There’s importance in never forgetting.

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