A couple months ago, I was asked to write a profile about a local artist named Michael O’Connor.

We met at the Madhouse to talk about kids, and art, and the city, and local art, and families… Just some nice conversation over a couple beer (I had whiskey)!

Michael and his wife Susan are from the area but moved to the East coast as young adults: education and career opportunities!

Michael attended school and Susan worked in medicine. In the early 90’s, Susan was offered a job back here in Thunder Bay. Michael had recently begun establishing himself as an artist in Halifax, with a studio and taking commissions. He was worried about moving to Thunder Bay where the local art scene wasn’t as established as it is today.

But they did move. And Susan started her job working at the hospital here, and Michael worked hard at establishing himself as a local artist. And babies were born! Two sons in the mid 90s, who have grown up helping their dad out with various art projects.

Some great examples of Michael’s painting:

Michael works all over North America (and has worked overseas) painting murals and undertaking large scale projects that include mural work and sculpture.

Below you can see the beginnings of a triceratops sculpture, followed by the finished product.

So realistic!

Even with widespread success, Michael keeps coming back home to his roots. Michael and his wife Susan said it was a great place to raise a family!

Michael painted all the big portraits at The Madhouse (on the corner of Bay and Algoma). Here he is posing underneath one of his favourites:

Cheers Michael! Thank you for meeting with me and thank you for coming back home again and again.

For more information about Michael, pick up this month’s issue of The Walleye!

Visit Michael’s studio page here.

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