James Michaels Obituary, Death- We regret to inform you of the demise of James Michaels, an accomplished artist and respected Air Force veteran whose work will forever change the face of fine art. James Michaels passed away, yet he left behind a legacy of brilliance that will go on long after he is gone. Michaels, who was born there, made his name as a commercial illustrator before moving to Tampa. While working as an art director and cartoonist for the Tampa Tribune, he polished his craft and captivated readers with his witty and imaginative cartoons.
Michaels made a dramatic reorientation of his professional life in the 1980s, focusing solely on the production of fine art. Michaels showed great variety as an artist by trying out new techniques and approaches during his long and successful career. The Italian Renaissance and the Baroque influenced his more realistic works, while his more whimsical Pop Art paintings deftly combined famous imagery of toys, cartoons, and other cultural allusions. James Michaels: Passion for Paint was a retrospective show at the Museum that honored Michaels’ artistic career and career in 2006.
The exhibition presented a complete view of the progression of his artistic vision, showing the depth and breadth of his creative research. Michaels was widely recognized for his outstanding artistic talents throughout the region. His masterwork, “15 Men,” was awarded the Best of Event prize at a previous Mayfaire by-the-Lake art event because it demonstrated his extraordinary talent and artistic vision. In our 2016 show “Blast from the Past: Mayfaire Selections from the Permanent Collection,” Michaels’ work was featured prominently once again in our Murray Gallery.
Michaels’ “15 Men” was a representation of his ability to break down barriers in the art world. James Michaels’ creative journey was not only an inward adventure; it was also a present to the world in the form of a creative legacy that will live on in his paintings long after he is gone. As we say goodbye to this revered veteran and brilliant artist, we will remember him for the fervor and commitment with which he conveyed his vision of the world. We pray that his legacy will be preserved in the indelible ink of his masterpieces on the walls of our minds.