Michael Johnson is a self-taught freelance artist from Evansville, Illinois. A proud ambassador for Down Syndrome, Michael supports himself with his art and his work has raised thousands of dollars for non-profits in the community. His artistic style has been likened to folk work of artists like Edward Hicks, and the lush nature paintings of Henri Rousseau. Painting in watercolor, acrylics and oils for over 21 years, Michael paints full-time and is much sought out for his distinctive style, especially suited to his favorite subjects – children, animals and nature. Michael’s work demonstrates a deep appreciation for and connection with nature. A gentle animal lover at heart, Michael’s deft use of color and light express the spontaneous joy and wonder of nature and its creatures. Painting with clarity and insight, Michael’s subjects are portrayed with individual character and personality, yet remain intimately ensconced in their natural settings. With a strong personal style, and a commitment to continually challenge his skill and vision, Michael has also ventured into a variety of portrait and illustration work. Since 2000 he has painted more than 500 commissioned portraits of pets, children, homes, and famous thoroughbred race horses. About his work, Michael shares, "I paint portraits of pets. They are about kindness, play, friendship, loyalty, family." Michael has participated in ArtPrize for the past five years and created paintings that are owned by Hilary Clinton, Steven Spielberg, Liam Nelson, and Mike Meyers. He has also been featured on the cover of The Journal of the American Medical Association. Hardly a day goes by that doesn’t find Michael Johnson absorbed in his painting — it is his life’s passion. Michael is a 2015 ACTion Art Juror's Choice Award winner, and his participation in ArtPrize 2015 is sponsored by Artists Creating Together (ACT). ACT is a non-profit organization that empowers individuals with disabilities to learn, grow, and celebrate through the arts. ACT provides art and creative expression programming that enriches the lives of people with or without disabilities in every corner of West Michigan. To learn more, visit www.artistscreatingtogether.org.
Michael's ArtPrize Entries
These are Michael's official ArtPrize entries from this year and past years.