Michael Markowsky is a visual artist and writer who lives primarily in Vancouver. For the past 15 years he has made semi-abstract artwork inspired by the landscape. Typically he makes drawings and paintings while riding inside or on top of moving cars, buses, boats, trains and airplanes.
In 2013, Markowsky made 100 landscape drawings while flying faster than the speed of sound in a CF-18 "Hornet" fighter jet plane. A documentary film entitled "Markowsky Draws in a Fighter Plane" (directed by Michael Peterson) premiered at the Calgary International Film Festival where it was named runner-up for the "Best of Alberta" award.
In 2012, Markowsky traveled to the North Pole, where he made landscape paintings outside in the -40oC weather! He obtained both of these unique opportunities through his role as one of Canada's official "War Artists." Past members of the "War Artist" program include legendary painters such as Group of Seven members A.Y Jackson, Arthur Lismer, Frederick Varley and Lawren Harris, as well as David Milne, Charles Comfort and Alexander Colville.
Markowsky's next major project is a solo exhibition at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery (Ontario) in 2017. He has been commissioned by the museum to create a series of large artworks commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the death of artist Tom Thomson in 2017. Tom Thomson is perhaps Canada's most famous artist, and the inspiration for the founding of the Group of Seven.
Markowsky was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, where he graduated with honors from the Alberta College of Art. Michael also studied at Cooper Union (New York City) and the Royal College of Art (London, UK), and Art Center (Los Angeles) where he obtained his Master of Fine Arts Degree in 2002. His artwork has been exhibited alongside artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Ken Lum and William S. Burroughs. He has exhibited in galleries and museums in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Montreal, Vancouver and even Baghdad, Iraq! Markowsky has also toured across Canada with the indie-rock band "Brasstronaut," creating live visuals on stage in response to the music.
Markowsky’s artwork is often featured on television and in print media, including the CBC, CTV, NBC, CityTV, ShawTV, GlobalTV, Calgary Herald, Globe and Mail, Huffington Post, Montreal Gazette, FFWD Magazine, Beatroute Magazine, ArtUS Magazine, Canadian Aviator Magazine, etc. In 2015 Markowsky was one of the stars of CBC TV's hit television show "Crash Gallery."
Michael with Jeff Koons, Los Angeles 2009
Michael Markowsky with Attila Richard Lukacs, Vancouver 2013
Stephen Prina, Mike Kelley, Michael Markowsky and Ivan Morley, 2005
“My purpose in life is to inspire others. I encourage people to follow their dreams, and I believe that in this respect my role as an artist is to lead by example. I indulge my imagination and allow myself to pursue every whim and opportunity.
For instance, my primary career goal is to stand on the surface of the moon and to make a painting. I plan on accomplishing this feat by January 1st, 2030. While I am serious about this ambition, I also recognize that it may seem absurd to many people. Nevertheless, I hope to empower others with the courage to express aloud their own aspirations, which of course is the first step toward realization. I am deeply saddened by stories of people who live their whole lives without taking action toward their dreams.
The majority of my time is spent painting semi-abstract paintings of the landscape, though I’ve begun to paint figures as well. Typical characteristics of my paintings are bright, exuberant colors, serpentine lines, energetic brush strokes, and patches of exposed canvas. I am preoccupied with capturing feelings of movement and speed.
Also, as a teacher and lover of art, I feel a responsibility to promote the power, value and relevance of visual art to mainstream culture. I often embrace projects that involve interacting with the public and I take every opportunity to engage the media in order to stimulate discussion outside of the art world context.”
– Vancouver, B.C. (November, 2012)