Michael James Paintings, & Photography of Mexico
"Juxtaposition De Colores," An Award Winning Painting!
All art is an expression of intrinsic feelings which surely are influenced by the culmination of one's experiences.  It's certainly no different for Michael James who's travels and numerous job related experiences have provided him with a unique and broad palette of the world.

During high school summers he began working for the Federal Forest Service on a helitack crew, where he was trained to debark from helicopters for the initial suppression of forest fires.  This was the beginning of a fascination for flying.  Michael logged seven cross country flights into the mainland of Mexico and Baja, before obtaining his commercial pilot's license in 1974.  He later sold aircraft for Silvair Aviation in central California.

In junior college Michael began his interest and studies in art.  After graduating he went on to Humboldt State College where he majored in oceanography.  After leaving academia Michael entered the fast-paced world of motor racing.  He raced several years in open wheel formula cars, winning numerous trophies at varius tracks including Riveside Raceway, Laguna Seca, and Sears Point.  He ran the last race at the once famed Santa Barbara Grand Prix, taking first place in his formula Lotus while lapping everyone below him.  Later, he managed and instructed at the renown Jim Russell Racing Driver's School.  For years Michael moved in-and-out of racing, working on various teams which took him throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and Japan.  His last stint on a race team was crewing with Dan Gurney's All American Racers.  He later worked for Toyota Motorsports.

In the late seventies Michael graduated with a degree in "marine technology" from the College of Oceaneering which launched a career in commercial deep-sea diving.  Based in Singapore as a diving supervisor for Solus Ocean Systems, Michael traveled for the next six years throughout Southeast Asia.  During this period he spent every spare moment perusing through art galleries and museums, like the National Palace Museum in Taiwan, which displays over ten thousand Chinese artifacts.  Enthralled by the surrounding beauty of Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Borneo, Sarawak, Brunei, and the Philippines, Michael began pencil sketching and shooting B&W photography.

During the mid-eighties Michael began a career in the movies with a small speaking role in a Hollywood production being filmed in the Philippines.  He went on to star in seven feature films and portrayed the lead role in three action-adventure films, such as Warriors of the Apocalypse.  He later formed Galera Productions to develop independent films.  It was only after opting out of the film business, that a close friend introduced him to painting.  Michael was immediately captivated by his new artistic outlet, and was soon accused of being obssessive after completing over eighty paintings his first year.

In addition to painting and photography, Michael can often be seen at the helm of his sailboat cruising to Catalina Island, fly fishing in the Sierras, or exploring the myriad of subcultures in Los Angeles.  He has a passion for cultural anthropology, Latin American culture, and is presently writing his second book, Janus.

Michael currently divides his time between his home studio in Toluca Lake, California and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  


Michael is a member of the Los Angeles Municipal Gallery, Fine Arts Federation of Burbank, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and the 2nd City Council Gallery, Long Beach. 

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