Pennsylvania-born, Connecticut-based fine artist Michael Wagner does portraits and all sorts of figurative painting, something that has fascinated him for most of his life. Having a background in art education, he has jumped from one occupation to another, finally landing on something he truly wants to do.

Having first a career in graphic design and video production, and then moving to law enforcement in 1999 as a forensic artist, “Mike” has realized his true calling in painting. His odd backgrounds have given him a unique tool – combining human psychology with visual aesthetics. As a result, he has very detailed, colorful portraits that are so fascinatingly close to reality.

We at TAE learned that this talented creative considers himself a “Pop Realist,” which stems from growing up in the late sixties and getting exposed in the midst of a music revolution. For the artist, via his website, “every face has its own unique map and conveys a sense of depth captured best with paint and a brush.”

Using mainly acrylics, Mike uses the grid method in making his astoundingly huge portraits. Because of his exposure to and love of music, a lot of his subjects would be musicians. See if you recognize any of these music and pop culture faces!

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What’s next for Mike? He’ll be part of Artwalk in Stamford Downtown, which goes on from Friday, June 26 (5-8pm) Saturday, June 27 (2-6pm). For more details, check out this page.

You can also visit Michael Wagner’s website for more about him, or follow his social media profiles on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

All images are from the artist. Thanks for reading!