Michael Ward’s work can be seen at Studio Gallery through Jan. 31, 18001 Skypark Circle, Suite R, Irvine, 949-851-9181, studiogallery.net. In February, his work will be at Mesa Art, 789 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, 949-548-3570. Visit Ward’s studio by appointment, 714-966-3008.
Ward is self-taught, and began working in gouache in 1980; he now uses acrylics. Nearly all of his paintings are based on his own photographs. “What I’m after is bearing witness, and making people stop what they’re doing and pay attention to something they may have never seen before, but makes them feel, ‘I know this.’”
“I have a series of paintings I call the ‘Walkabout’ series, based on photos taken on my journeys around Southern California. My emphasis is on ordinary, often-overlooked places. I’ve done several beauty shops, all in Santa Ana. I’m taken with the aspirational aspect of such places.”
Ward prints out digitally enhanced photos to guide him while he paints. “The girl was added from another photo [also] taken on Broadway in Santa Ana. She would have passed the salon at some point, and no doubt the guy inside would have checked her out, just as he was checking me out when I took this photo.”
Browse a gallery of Michael Ward’s art here
This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue.