James Michalopoulos is a celebrated New Orleans based artist. He is a contemporary of Julian Schnabel, David Salle, Eric Fischl and a school of painters that prevailed in the 1980s who glorified the representational image. He is an artist who refreshes the familiar with colors that dance vividly in and out of the canvas; he pushes and pulls the dimensions of the pigment in the same way that people move and breathe.
Michalopoulos is best known for his distinctive architectural renderings. Kevin Allman writes of his architecture, “They slope, soar and sway. Some of them rear back on their foundations, or lurch drunkenly over cracked sidewalks; others dip their balconies over the street curiously.” His representations seem to have a life of their own. There is a palpable energy and mystery in these highly original and much copied works. Also, Michalopoulos has earned a reputation for the unique musicality of his paintings. They are at once a mystical abstraction and a powerful evocation of the subjects’ spirit.
Michalopoulos shows his work in France, England, Germany and Holland, as well as New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, Atlanta and Dallas in the United States. He exhibits oil paintings exclusively, but maintains a printmaking studio in New Orleans which publishes four to five print editions a year. Michalopoulos released his second book in 2003, published by Cattywompus Press. He has studios and galleries in Burgundy France and New Orleans US. He is the favorite artist of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation and has been commissioned six times to create the official Jazz Fest poster: 1998, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2013. Collectors of his work span the globe and include Jackson Browne, Chrysler Corporation, John Goodman, Linda Hamilton, Northwestern Airlines, Bonnie Raitt, Sharon Stone and Bruce Willis.
Michalopoulos’ other notable projects include being the former Art Director for House of Blues Productions; former Art Director of ABC in Concert; creator of Old New Orleans Louisiana sugarcane rum, (the oldest rum distillery in the United States with a gold medal for the best aged rum in America); and proprietor of restaurant Etoile and wine shop Louisiana Star in Covington Louisiana.
Michalopoulos studied art at the University of New Orleans, New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts and Bowdoin College. He graduated from Bowdoin with a Bachelor of Arts in 1974.
In his spare time he makes abstract sculpture and is known as an avid, if poor dancer.