Bio / Artist Statement
J Michael Walker is an LA-based multi-disciplinary artist working in painting, drawing, photography, and digital media. His work confronts issues of erasure, misrepresentation, and fetishization, through portraiture that illuminates the spiritual essence of marginalized people and women, particularly women of color. It’s both a political act and aesthetic preference.
J Michael was born in the South under segregation, and raised during the Civil Rights Era: inequality and inclusion have been on his mind for a very long time and have guided his life and art.
His art presents us with women (and, occasionally, men), whose permission and trust he’s been gifted, and with deep awareness of the artist’s responsibility to represent his subjects honorably, deeply, and true. For Walker, creating beautiful, dignified, connecting images of people who ofttimes go unheralded through this world has real value and meaning.
J Michael Walker is a recipient of fellowships from Instituto Sacatar and Art Matters, as well as the 2006 COLA Fellowship; eight grants from Los Angeles Cultural Affairs, and from the California Council for the Humanities; three artist residencies from the California Arts Council; and has had numerous solo shows at, among others, the Autry Museum, the Mexican Cultural Institute, Harvard University’s Rockefeller Center, and the National Folk Museum of Mexico City; and participated in over 120 group exhibitions in the US, Mexico, and South Korea.
J Michael's work is in the collections of the Museum of Latin American Art, the Autry Museum, the Smithsonian, the Arkansas Arts Center, UCLA, and UCSB. His book, All the Saints of the City of the Angels: Seeking the Soul of LA on Its Streets (Heyday Books, 2008) - which he wrote and illustrated - won awards for best art book and best non-fiction about the Pacific West, in 2009.
"Our Lady of Roses, Lilies and Light", 1999.
Color pencil on rag paper, 87"h x 50" w.
Collection of Ms. CCH Pounder