MIchel Velazquez

The Hand That Reflects His Heart

We all know the hero’s journey, because it’s the foundation of most stories. After being called to adventure, finding a guide, and triumphing over obstacle after obstacle, the hero returns with newfound success, knowledge, or the like, typically in cinematic fashion. 

Here in Denver, an eclectic artist with a knack for neon both embodies and creates around that journey; only after returning to his childhood roots of painting and finding his wife and trusted business manager did Michel Velazquez cross the threshold to international exposure. Now, his pieces reflect that feeling of triumph over life, of building strength out of struggle.

Michel specializes in portraits and mixed media, working across a variety of mediums including acrylics, water colors, charcoal, and his signature: neon colors. In most of his work, he uses a blacklight to create a two-in-one painting that changes when exposed to it. When asked about his intention with this particular style, Mich said he aims to “express happiness through neon” and instill viewers with a sense of hope. One example is his other signature: a neon teardrop on the face of his subject, meant to represent “overcoming, success, relief - like a happy cry,” according to the rising artist.

There are a handful of messages within his work, such as the way he uses black and white colors to represent the obstacles and victories of life, or includes imperfections in his portraits, “Because no one and nothing is perfect - that’s how I see life.” All in all, Mich’s pieces convey that through struggle, we can reach a place of sustained happiness, and accepting our imperfections are part of that process.

Mich’s father, Diego Velazquez, formerly worked at a regal church, the Basilica of Our Lady Guadalupe in Mexico City. When asked when the passion started, Mich said he started painting young - using rocks, wood pieces, any unorthodox canvas he could find as he couldn’t afford a canvas. His father would do something similar, but would colorfully paint over rare wood furniture. 

Interestingly enough, visual art wasn’t always Mich’s focus - poetry was. He published two books prior to arriving in Denver in 2006, and returned to his roots of painting on irregular canvases soon after. This realization that painting was always meant to transcend a hobby propelled Mich forward, sparking a domino effect that resulted in his work being featured throughout the rich cityscapes of Denver, Miami, and New York. 

“Nicole is the mastermind behind everything I do,” says Mich, “I’m the artist and she’s the business manager, the wizard behind the curtain. I can’t possibly express how deeply I appreciate her support, guidance, and positive influence on my work.”

Mich was accepted into the Spectrum Miami Art Exhibit  this December, which according to Nicole Velazquez, will open up the opportunity to be featured in additional Art Basels exhibits. The artist was first accepted into a Miami Art Basel exhibit, and now, the Basel Hong Kong, show is  within reach - marking a bright chapter in his hero’s journey, but far from his resolution. What’s more, this soon-to-be-global artist can be visited right here in Denver, in Dairy Block. 

You can support Michel, Nicole, and their exciting journey by stopping by their home gallery over in Dairy Block. You can also follow him on Instagram @velart_denver_co and learn more on their website, Mich even carries out custom art requests if you’d like to schedule an appointment online. 


"Mich's art is some of the most amazing I have ever seen.  I came to see his art, but saw something much more valuable and and much more exclusive.  I saw respect in its highest form.  I saw a world famous artist in a different light.  I saw him hold the door for his wife.  I saw him step in front of her even at the thought of a problem.  I saw a man that is humble, thoughtful and caring.  I saw a man whose heart is reflected in every move he makes and every word he utters. His art barely reflects the value of this man."

Matt Coffel

Denver North Publisher

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