About the Artist

Michael Van Haney
Michael Van Haney

Who am I?

I am an artist working in the desert of Southern California. My specialty is paintings made with a mix of spray paint techniques and acrylics. My subjects tend to be nature-based or iconic, with a loose and chaotic style, incorporating elements of Abstract Expressionism while borrowing some influences from Pop and Street Art.

My Story

Since I was a kid, I’ve loved symbols and I’ve loved stencils and the idea of manipulating the positive and negative space to make an image or a shape. When we work with stencils, we work with shadows. It’s where the paint is, and where the paint isn’t.

For years, I worked with in bronze — making molds and casting patterns. A mold is just a three dimensional stencil. The pattern is the positive space.

In my paintings, I combine the use of both positive and negative space stencils with spray paint and acrylics. Some of the work is free hand, other parts from the patterns, and I always use a loose hand to bring chaos and natural flow into my pieces. Fog and mist, scattered light from strange suns and moons cradle bold symbols — animals and icons and sometimes complete abstraction where surprises emerge.

When my daughter was two years old, she began to paint. She would throw paint on the paper with total abandon. Her mind was free of judgment or self-consciousness, and she created beautiful abstract shapes. Like a student of Zen, in my paintings I always seek that beginner’s mind, the freedom of shape and color from the unconscious.Please enjoy my work. I hope you find symbols and ideas that move or inspire you.