Mike’s Story

I love what I smoke, and I try to lay that love onto canvas or paper in my cigar art.

Personally, Art began years ago for me while I was in high school. The content of my work has changed through the years, but my interest, my love, my creativity sparked then. I found focus in my artwork near the end of graduation while completing a mural for the school with another student that still stands to this day. If you ever get the chance to drive by Westerville North High School in Westerville, Ohio (suburb of Columbus, Ohio), take a peek at the mural…All me. Because of my early achievements in the area of Fine Art, I received an Art scholarship at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. I completed two years of Fine Arts training before coming to the realization that I also had some skills outside of Fine Arts. I made the change to Advertising and graduated Cum Laude in 2000, with a degree in Advertising.

I spent the next years working in the fields of Advertising, then Real Estate, and currently, Parenthood. Parenthood is both one of the greatest challenges and rewarding situations I’ve ever been a part of. It presents me with many opportunities daily and a year or so back, it opened my eye to the world of art again. I got the itch again! Aside from the beauty of my family, I also had beautiful cigars around. So, I painted an Ashton Cabinet band while I smoked on the back porch with no intention of selling it. Yet, I put it up on Cigarbid Forum and it was out of my hands! Thus, the cigar art path was paved.

As for my artistic style or approach to cigar art, I wish I could say that I had a lot to do with the composition of those first pieces; but truthfully, I just painted what I saw using a color palate that I really dig – mellow, cool browns. That is the kind of art that I would want hanging in my room. Well, that IS the kind of art hanging in my room. Everything I’ve done I would gladly hang in my man room. I just hope that others feel the same way when they see my work. I hope they think “I can chill with that in my room. I can feel good about that.” Of late, I think my Advertising experience has played a large part in my artistic developments. You see, it’s hard for me to reach into my humidor and not think of how the cigar I’m holding will make me feel, or what imagery it will evoke in me. I’ve done a VERY few unbanded / unbranded pieces and I think that’s because of two things. One, the bands are magnificent in themselves! Two, I’d like my art to represent the status and prestige of the cigars I am smoking at the time. I want to look at a finished piece and think “That reminds me of the (blank) cigar I smoked. That reminds me of the time I had Scotch with (blank) cigar. Man that was fun.” Overall, my cigar art is a fusion of my taste in cigars and own artistic preferences that I hope others will appreciate as well.

My cigar art is now out there and so am I. I hope that someday you will encounter us both. You can find my artwork in the homes of many Brothers and Sisters of the Leaf. In total to date, over 80 original pieces are scattered around the US. I believe one was even gifted to someone in England. Prints have been just as far reaching, spreading from California to Florida and everywhere in between. If you want to see some of my work in person, you can also find it for sale at Good Karma Cigar in Amarillo,Texas. Todd is the owner and a fan of my work that has a set of pieces you won’t find listed here. They’re for his customers only. If you’re nearby Good Karma Cigar, stop in and say “Hello” to Todd! Or, my artwork can be found in the offices of Jon Huber & Tim Ozgener of (formerly of) CAO Cigars International, Jonathan Drew of Drew Estate Cigars, Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars, and Casper Johnson of La’Telier. It is a great source of pride for me to be able to create a backdrop for everyday business for these forerunners in the Cigar market today knowing that it is their work that is the true inspiration for my work. It is nice to think that I may be giving them some benefit in turn. As for me personally, you might find me frequenting a few cigar forums. I’ve found the forums to be great places to meet folks who dig what you do, get some quality feedback and sometimes even create/commission artwork that they’ve been unable to find themselves. Through the forums, I’ve also gotten the opportunity to provide some of my artwork as prizes for troop fundraisers. In the near future, look to find me also as the featured artist in Cigar Press Magazine. So, I am really accessible and real-just a guy with a cigar in one hand and a paintbrush in the other!

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