Artist Michael Ward

When I was a teenager growing up in Long Beach, my father gave me his 35mm camera, and I began wandering around taking pictures of stuff I found interesting at the time. My professional photographer friends thought the images had artistic merit, which encouraged me to further my art. Influenced by the Photorealist artists, in the early 1980s I tried making paintings of the photos.
Those early works, while successful (I even made a sale), were put on hold while other life events intervened. In the mid-1990s I began painting again, this time in acrylic on canvas. My impetus was to recreate the early painting that I had sold, and always regretted doing so. I have been painting steadily ever since.
Over the years I have come to see my paintings as documents of things looked at but not seen, the ordinary environment that we live in but seldom examine closely. I believe that by close observation, which is necessary to translate source photographs to canvas, I can begin to uncover the grace that is hidden in the things around us. The paintings are my way of bearing witness, and of making people stop what they’re doing and pay attention, to something they may have never seen before, but that makes them feel “I know this.”
My subject matter is derived (with a few exceptions) from photographs I have taken over the past 40 years. Some older images may appear nostalgic, but that was never my intent. I am, however, ever intrigued at how the past lurks in the corners of the present, waiting to be rediscovered.
I am a self-taught artist, living and working in Costa Mesa, CA.

This artists work is also featured in the Long Beach ArtWalk Magazine Fall Issue. The magazine can be downloaded or purchased in print here.