Funny story. One blistery Manhattan afternoon I couldn’t have been more grateful to finally join my regular happy hour Cheers tribe at my favorite local haunt, The Shadmoor on the corner of 56th Street. The vibe is very local and chill with an eclectic crowd so you never know who your going to meet. As I got my first crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc, I spied a man across the bar that looked bizarrely similar to Pablo Picasso. I imagined it was him, as had I spent my entire junior year at NYU obsessed with the Lost Generation expatriates of Paris circa 1925. As I gazed across the bar he looked up right at me, our eyes met for a slightly awkward moment and then he returned to his work. A little embarrassed, I returned my attention to my gang and our good old manic Manhattan banter.
As we headed home, I felt compelled to say goodbye to him. I leaned in through the crowd and to my surprise he turned to me, and handed me a piece of paper. I looked at it and was a jaw dropping dead on sketch of ME! It felt like a movie scene. What a trip. Of course, from there I was lead down the extraordinary journey of genius and passion of The Marvelous Mr. Michael Dolen.
Over the next few weeks I savored hearing stories of his upbringing in the rough and tumble Bronx. Amazed by his successful years at The High School of Art and Design in New York City as just a teen. There he honed his craft, mastering many genres and styles, before embarking on one of the most intense, rigorous programs in the country at the historic Copper Union School of Design smack in the middle of the artsy East Village. There, his work was continuously lauded by his peers and professors followed with accolades and awards. Still, he was a doting young father in love with a his family that he needed to support to the best of his ability. The decision had to be, paint when possible, but family comes first.
Of course with his talent, he quickly landed a role as VP, Design Director at a premier NYC corporate communications consulting firm focused on marketing communications and design. Believe me, he is straight up Mad Men style, I saw the pictures and he definitely could have been on the show. Still, a true artist with clearly remarkable talent, he never stopped growing and creating as much as possible to this day. A Master never stops learning. He is one.
This was the beginning of my current journey through his prolific collection of sculpture, figurative, bio morphic imagery , totems, constructions, photography, and a little of every style imaginable. Michael allowed me to tell him what I saw in works in progress and his latest masterpieces, which for me was the truth of society, failure, success, pain, longing, enlightenment, passion, grief and the struggle of humanity.
Skidmore Professor Richard Boyer, the Editor of SALMAGUNDI Magazine and Director of the Skidmore Summer Writing Institute recently reviewed Dolen’s work:
“A brilliant colorist, Dolen is also inveterately mischievous and playful. The ladders in his new series provide a recurring motif and a discipline, a suggestive visual symbol and an implicit commentary upon the artist’s will to impose clarity and regularity upon a process that is protean and unpredictable.”
Michael has inspired me to finally return to my writing again, and reinvest in honing my craft more than I had in years. He will do that for you too no matter what passion. And for that I am eternally grateful to him now and forever.
Please join me for the VIP Opening Night Champagne Reception on March 8 at Paul Fishers Gallery at the Brazilian Court. Can’t wait to see all of my favorite people in town for a night of art and inspiration! For information and rsvp please contact:
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