michael ward APM: First off I would like to congratulate you and your painting Mi Salon as being chosen by our juror as the Best in Show of our 2012 Landscapes Art Exhibition. Itʼs a beautiful work of art and the other day I was leaving my gallery in the Santora Arts Building in Santa Ana and I walked right past this shop. I was thinking, this place really looks familiar. What compelled you to paint the Mi Salon? MW: I, too, discovered Mi Salon while wandering around the Arts District in Santa Ana. It was early morning, and while waiting for galleries to open I took the shot. The girl was another photo taken on the same street further up the block. So even though she was not actually in front of the salon, she was headed that way, and the guy inside would have surely checked her out, as he was checking out the strange gringo taking pictures. APM: I read in your bio that you are a self taught artist. What made you want to become an artist and what drives or inspires you as an artist? MW: I started painting primarily to see if I could do it, and because I had some photos Iʼd taken that I thought would make good paintings. Those first efforts came out well, so I kept going. My early inspiration was the work of Charles Sheeler, Richard Estes and others that work from photographs. For me the process is rewarding—Iʼm always discovering elements in the source images that I didnʼt see when the photograph was taken (like the guy inside Mi Salon). Itʼs a reminder that we only see the surface of things in our day-to-day experience. There are always deeper truths to be found, and painting helps me discover them. Tower Zero (2012) Acrylic on Canvas 18" x 24"