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ADVANCING THE ARTS ACROSS MARYLAND

MICHAEL KIRBY

MICHAEL KIRBY

Artist Work

Maya Tree of Life
2009
Fresco
Various
Pocahontas, Life and Legend
2008
Silicon Paint on Stucco
25 x 150 ft
Madamme Butterfly
2011
Set
Various
Bonaparte/Patterson
2006
Fresco
40 x 30 feet
Catrina
2011
Pastels/Pigments on Pavement
20 x 30 meters
Three Baltimores
2004
Mineral Paint on Concrete
6 x 60 meters

Artist Information

County
Baltimore City
Artistic Category

Visual Arts

MSAC Individual Artist Award (IAA)
Prior to 2012

Artist Bio

Michael William Kirby was born in the city of Baltimore in the year 1975. At an early age he began to paint scenes from the life of an ordinary boy of the bay and took an interest in mural painting. At the age of nineteen he went to study in Italy and learned the techniques of fresco painting. Here he also discovered the art of ephemeral murals. He began to create ephemeral pieces in Florence. After a while Michael began to do more original work on the pavement in larger scales and began to be noticed by more than just tourists of Florence and picked up many jobs as a muralist. Ephemeral murals have many titles through out the world; some of them are Madonnaro, Callejero, Madonnari, Strassenmaler, Ephemeralists, and many others. In America many call this art form Ephemeral which means to create a work that is temporary. They have been around in the times of the Aztecs and 15th century Europe. In Mexico they would make huge designs of their gods on the streets of their cities with ground up flower peddles and in Europe painters would draw images of the Madonna on the pavement with pigments to go from one city to the next in search of work, it is said that El Greco did this to get to Spain. Many believe this art started in Italy, unfortunately that is not true. The first documented ephemeral mural was in Teonochitlan and London. As an Ephemeral muralist, Michael has won various competitions and been featured in numerous festivals and galleries across the world. Today Michael is considered to be if not the best ephemeral muralist in the world. He has worked in more cities than any other artist in the world. He has worked in over 200 cities including Rome, Paris, London, Berlin, New York, Mexico City, Guadalajara, San Francisco, Caracas, Cartagena, and many more. To this day he is still traveling and working in more cities every year. After working and studying in Europe as a muralist, Michael wanted to learn more modern mural techniques and moved to Mexico. Here he started working as an apprentice for various mural masters. During these studies Michael was commissioned to do various murals for private and public buildings. Eventually Michael started his own studio in Guadalajara. In the year 2002, Michael Kirby returned to the city of his birth to create a new studio using the techniques he has learned abroad. Since his return, Michael has been selected to be apart of various exhibits and commissions. He has also been interviewed for numerous newspapers, magazines, tv programs, and news reports. Carter Ratcliff writes, "Kirby turns this image of an imaginary Baltimore into an emblem of an unrealized American ideal, in hope that his art can contribute to its realization." Cara Seitchek writes "(Kirby) hides symbols and ideas that delight the viewer as they are drawn into the image………… his paintings capture the vibrancy and energy of Mexican culture……….within his paintings, he captures elements of another culture, takes them out of context, and transfers them into a new medium, making the image accessible to a larger audience." Michael's latest studio is called "Murals of Baltimore." Michael and Murals of Baltimore travels across the country and the world creating frescos, Keim murals, Marouflage, Mosaics, and other forms of public art. Clients include McDonald's Restaurant Corp., City of Baltimore, City of Guadalajara, Henderson's Inn Wharf, City of Guanajuato, Maritime Museum Fell's Point, Chiesa San Paolo-Naples, CSX Transportation (Railroad Company), City of Koblenz, Fire Department of Baltimore, and the Red Cross