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- Seeing The World Again
by Angela Romeo
Sight is an important sense for most artists. Claude Monet, as his sight failed, took the challenge and painted light as he saw it. What if blindness came, unexpectedly and left one in darkness? What if that same darkness turned again into light? Would the world seem different?
For Lon Michaels that “what if” became a reality. Lon has been painting since the age of seven. Along the way, he was assistant to acclaimed sculptor Louise Nevelson. He traveled the world developing his artistic style. Lon’s work is larger than life and not just in scale. The work is bold, colorful, intricate and draws on the cultures and religions of today and yesterday.
But one-day things changed. Although Lon is healthy person living with HIV, complications resulted in infection to his optic nerve. From 2004-2005 Lon was blind. With the help of an assistant, Lon continued to paint. Working from his mind’s eye, being true to his calling, Lon’s work and reputation grew. Treatment helped restore his sight. And Lon never stopped painting. Today private collectors, museums and galleries seek his works.
But what was it like to see the world again? “When you are no longer able to look outside of yourself you must look within yourself to see the world in a totally different way. Everything that I thought was important I soon realized was not important”, said Lon. “ Blindness was terrifying. In the first days of loosing my sight, sleep was strange. I did not know if I had slept for one hour or all night. I could not tell night from day.” The experience heightened Lon’s senses and elevated his art to another level. With his sight returned, Lon went on to earn an MFA at University of Wisconsin at Madison. It was there that author and professor Narsico Menecol said of Lon that “every 300 years an artist of Lon’s talent and caliber comes along.” Lon has come along to Palm Springs.
Lon and his husband Todd Olson, have opened the Lon Michaels Gallery in the Uptown Design District, Palm Springs. While the gallery features the couple’s work, it will, most importantly, be a working gallery. The public is invited to watch the creative process as it unfolds. “We are trying to create an environment that will create a dialog between the observer, the artist and the work of art,” stated Todd. “Our hope is to allow the observer to see and feel the art.”
Philanthropic at heart, Lon’s hand painted gowns and coats encrusted with Swarovski crystals, have helped raise funds for many charitable groups. Lon and Todd plan to continue that tradition in Palm Springs. A portion of sales from their opening will go to several different charities to be chosen by the patrons.
The Lon Michaels Gallery is located at 1061 N. Palm Canyon in Palm Springs CA. www.lonmichelsart.com
ABOUT LIVE MAGAZINE CONTRIBUTOR, ANGELA ROMEO
Angela Romeo is the producer /host of COLLIDING WORLDS TV and COLLIDING WORLDS RADIO. For more information visit
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