Born in 1972, Michael Banks, a self-taught painter from Alabama, has achieved a place in the world of contemporary American folk art.
Michael is highly creative and expressive. Through experimentation and resourcefulness he has developed deep textural works of art. His work has been shaped by personal experiences, with the loss of his mother possibly being one of the most profound. Beginning in 1997, after a five-year break from painting to deal with his loss, Michael’s work showed a deeper expression of strength and understanding of the human soul.
His portraitures have a trademark of round heads, wide set eyes, and imagery that seems to speak of the masks we hide behind and the internal demons we fight.
A matrix of disparate imagery come together on salvaged boards or canvas, using acrylic, enamel, turpentine and tar. Adding depth and intrigue, Michael scratches a myriad of details and symbols into his paintings leaving them open to interpretation by the viewer.
He has been showcased at the nation’s top folk art shows and has won many honors for his work. Articles featuring him and his art have appeared in Southern Living and Better Homes and Gardens. His works have been exhibited at many galleries around the country, The Hurn Museum, and now are a part of permanent collections. Michael’s work exemplifies a new step in the evolution of American folk art.