Santiago MichalekAbout

An intimate connection to a work of art can be much like a relationship with an old car, at least for Santiago Michalek. The artist, who previously owned a business restoring vintage Volkswagen bugs and buses, is fascinated by the emotional attachment and nostalgia that we often place on old vehicles.

His first career found him connecting with people over stories and experiences with cars in his shop. His current work as a painter does the same; except instead of using wrenches and welders, he’s switched to paint and canvas to revive the narratives that exist under rusted metal frames and worn out engines.

“I’ve heard such intimate stories and memories while working on these cars,” says Michalek. “And I’ve realized the same connections are now happening through my paintings.”

While the Volkwagen is the subject that guided Michalek’s transition into full-time painting, his imagery extends to trains, motorcycles, ships, etc.

“The Volkswagen was my connections,” says the artist, “but everybody has their own experience, whether it’s a tractor, fishing boat or steam engine. Now I paint these things and I instantly have a connection with someone I’ve never met before.”

Santiago resides in Highland, Utah, with his wife Elizabeth, and their three budding artists who love to paint with their daddy.