Michael Snodgrass is a Carmel, California-based artist whose work is best described as abstract primitive with a nod to the Neo-Expressionists of 1980’s New York. His work is distinguished by the use of strong color, thickly applied paint and crudely rendered figures carved into layers of thick paint and wax. There is always a message included in his work, social or political commentary usually delivered with a heavy dose of humor.
Michael spent his childhood between the Napa Valley and San Francisco Bay Area. After graduating high school, he moved to San Francisco and found work as an artist assistant, painting backgrounds on San Francisco street scenes that the artist would finish and sell. After a year, he struck out on his own and was soon selling hundreds of his own city-scapes through wholesale decorators. Though the money was barely enough to live on, this experience helped him hone important skills, like the manipulation of paint, color and composition. Over the next 35 years, he moved away from fine art, finding creative expression as a cabinetmaker, builder and furniture designer, amongst other trades. It wasn't until he moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in the mid 1990s that he returned to the art world, this time as a sculptor, creating quirky animal sculptures out of found objects, like used wood and scrap metal.
While in Santa Fe, he was introduced to ethnic and tribal art, including Pre-Columbian and Mexican Folk Art, which became strong influences in his work. In 2000, he moved back to California, this time to the Monterey Peninsula. It was here that his original passion for painting was rekindled, encouraged by the vibrant local art scene. He began creating a body of work that incorporated the freedom and spontaneity he admired in abstract expressionist painting, with the purity and simplicity of personal expression embodied by tribal and Mexican folk art. The result was a different type of work that was humorous, raw and primitive with a strong emotional content. Michael's work is collected world-wide and exhibited in galleries from San Francisco to Miami, including contributions to the permanent collection of the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California, as well as private and corporate collections throughout the US and Europe.