Michael Banks has an insatiable drive to create art. He is an unstoppable force. The passion and energy that he pours into his art give his work a unique & distinctive style. The bold images of bizarre people and animals are most often painted on a background of liquid tar. Before the paint is applied, details and outlines are scratched into the partially dried tar with a sharp object. Sometimes letters or words are also added, but their meanings are left open to interpretation. Artistic as a child, Michael was encouraged by his mother who believed he would be a great artist one day. As a child he was mentored by an art teacher from the local school. His mother warned him that he would face serious obstacles, but perhaps the most difficult of all was her death in 1992. Devastated by her loss, Michael was plunged into many dark and troubled years when it seemed possible that he would never paint again. Fortunately for us all, Michael regained his creative spark, and it returned with feverish intensity. Michael has said that his drive to paint sometimes feels like a curse, but that at times it was all that kept him alive, forcing him to “paint or die!” Although still struggling with life’s demons, Michael now devotes himself to painting fulltime in the small town where he grew up.