Michael was born in St. Helena, California, and with only one high school art class, he started painting street scenes and cityscapes. At the urging of his parents, he left the art world and did not return to it until the mid-nineties while living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There he became immersed in the Santa Fe art scene and developed a great love of primitive, Native American, Mexican, and African tribal art. After leaving Santa Fe and moving to the Monterey Bay Area of California, he started experimenting and creating his own primitive style, incorporating elements of abstract impressionism. Michael explains his work as a take on the religious icons painted in Mexico and New Mexico called Retablos. He refers to his works as “irreverent Retablos or paintings that glorify the inglorious.” His fascination with scoundrels, chicken thieves, river rats, and art critics is evident throughout his works.