American painter Michael Carson (b. 1972) studied design at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design before becoming an artist. He didn’t start painting until several years after graduating in 1996, now creating paintings with an atmospheric realism inspired by Norman Rockwell, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and John Singer Sargent.

Michael Carson’s glamorous scenes, set in bars, clubs, cafés, and dance studios, are marked by a hazy realism. Carson, who was formally trained in design, brings elements of fashion and architecture into his work, but his foremost commitment is to the art of painting. “I love the ways that a single brushstroke can create such subtleties in facial expression,” he has remarked. “I spend most of my time on the face and hands. They tell the story.”