Emerging Artist | Michael Mao

After the Morning Shower by Michael Mao

By Bonnie Gangelhoff

California artist Michael Mao has painted and drawn since he was a youngster growing up in Shanghai, China. When it came time to pick a career, however, he settled on architecture and earned an engineering degree from Shanghai’s Tonghi University. In 1992, Mao moved to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in architecture and later worked for a top international firm. During that time, he became interested in animation and received an additional graduate degree in that field. Today, he is a leading visual artist at IBM Corporation.

But several years ago, Mao was inspired to pick up his paintbrush again: One day as his wife was taking a shower, he noticed the beauty of the moment—the female form, steam, and sunlight created a special atmosphere in the room. Since then Mao has painted regularly and in a variety of genres. “I just want to let the viewer feel the same kind of joy I feel when I am painting,” he says. “I want to share the moment.” Mao’s paintings are on view this month in the Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition at Dana Gallery in Missoula, MT, and the Salon International show at Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art in San Antonio, TX. He is represented by Waterhouse Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA, and Park Gallery, Carmel, CA.

Featured in “Artists to Watch” May 2006