As a muralist, Michael Alpert began experimenting with innovative ways to invigorate and energize everyday surroundings. He developed groundbreaking textures and finishes for the walls on which his murals were painted, expanding the palette of what was available in the medium. These textures would soon play a very apparent and expressive role in his paintings. Using sheetrock as his canvas and house paint as his medium, he painted portraits resulting in a highly dimensional interpretation of his subjects that has redefined traditional portraiture. His paintings of people, especially children, are raw and real, yet remain sensitive to detail; not only the surface details, but also exposing the interior life and emotions of his subjects. His focus on the eyes of his subjects displays a concise realism which transcends the visual and draws the viewer into the realm of the spirit. The result is a very honest living image.
Michael says of his work, “The eyes allow me entry into understanding who that child is, but then I must protect that innocence and vulnerability, so I drop veils of color over them." Never content with the surface, Michael insists on understanding his subjects, conversing with them until their inner life is revealed. Michael received his training at the High School of Music Art, The Rhode Island School of Design and Pratt Institute, where he graduated with honors. He subsequently freelanced as an illustrator, working with Oscar De La Renta, American Express, Donna Karan, Neiman Marcus, and Arnell Bickford, to name a few.
His commercial work transitioned to larger mediums, and he was commissioned to paint huge murals for clients such as Sony Theatre, Magic Johnson Theatres, Planet Hollywood and numerous restaurants nationally and internationally.
" I could never really choose one or two pieces as favorites, as what speaks to my heart and head always changes. What I can say is that when I create these pieces, for the first time in my life, I try not to limit the vision by deciding what images the pieces will be composed with. The images are picked because they speak to me like a child in school raising his hand and saying,”pick me, pick me” and if I’m listening, I pick correctly. I then put them together, more like paint than photos, shaping, molding, softening, then rendering until it is a group that can play together and I would want to play with. So actually they are living images, a moving portrait of my life, sometimes good and sometimes not, but as honest and telling, without preaching as I can create. And like a living being, they will always change, as they will always change me.” - Michael Alpert