Michael Vilkin’s lifelong passion for art began in his childhood in Beverly Hills, California, where he painted alongside his mother and two accomplished aunts, all skilled oil painters. Even then, he was drawn to vivid colors and manipulating shapes. As he matured, artists like Franz Marc and the Fauvists, who used color to evoke mood and emotion, deeply influenced him, leading to a simplification of form evident in his representational work.

Transitioning from painting to ceramics, Michael garnered several county-wide awards before pursuing a degree in psychology at Stanford University, followed by an MBA at UC Berkeley. His career in construction and real estate development demanded artistic expression through architecture and design, while he continued as a fine artist, focusing on large-scale mosaic sculptures and assemblage with found objects. Returning to painting in 2011, he enrolled in the masters program at the Academy of Fine Art, San Francisco.

In Michael’s paintings, he invites viewers to experience his perspective on subjects, aiming to evoke joy and positivity. Battling depression throughout his life, he takes a positive approach, highlighting the uplifting and entertaining aspects of life in his work.

His art explores a range of themes, oscillating between the familiar and the imaginative, from letters and numbers to flights of color and shape drawn from his playful and expressive side. Living with a visual deficit in distinguishing red from green has shaped his preference for vibrant, bold colors and imaginative palettes.

As a 66-year-old gay man married to his husband of 43 years, Michael finds strength and grounding in their relationship, navigating milestones in LGBTQ+ rights together. Currently focusing on his art in the dedicated studio at their home, Michael’s paintings have earned recognition in contests and local exhibitions, appealing primarily to private collectors. Whether depicting still lifes, figures, abstractions, or landscapes, his evolving style reflects his artistic vision and ongoing creative growth.


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Muscle memory

Works by a collection of queer artists June 22 - August 3, 2024

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