It all started a long time ago...
Have you ever walked by a shop window where something caught your eye and you ended up with a strong desire of wanting to own the item on display? You see this treasure showcased and can't get it out of your mind, you simply have to have it.
As a young man this happened to Theo on his way to work passing a framing shop in London’s Swiss Cottage. The item in question was a poster of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, and you probably guessed it, it soon became his prized possession.
Soon other Hopper prints followed (Summertime, High Noon, New York Movie).
This fascination for Edward Hopper's artwork in the late 1970’s, laid the foundation for Theo’s distinct painting style, an iconic and atmospheric painting style, that keeps the viewer returning again and again to the artwork, to unravel the mystery of the underling story in the painting.
Drawing and sketching, especially figures, had always been a hobby for Theo, fuelled by his collection of Marvel Comics and cinema posters, always dreaming about becoming a comic book artist.
As a boy he determinedly tried many times to unpeel movie posters off walls which were pasted all over the underground stations at the time. When Theo then mentioned that he liked figures to a school career officer, he was steered towards a career in accounting!
Edward Hopper an inspiration
In 2004 a Hopper retrospective at the Tate Gallery in London changed Theo's course of life. The chance of seeing Edward Hopper's artwork up close, inspired him to take up painting full time. At the end of 2005 he moved back to his place of birth Cyprus, and embarked on a career as a full time artist.
Life Drawing Classes In The Street
It was always clear that Theo’s paintings would be defined by his figurative artwork, and to hone his skills and earn a few pennies on the side, he decided to set up portrait drawing classes in the street. Models were local residents and he struck a deal with a boutique who would release their staff for an hour or so, in return for a beautiful portrait (hopefully!).
It was a great marketing tool as it exposed Theo to the public and often attracted tourists and passers-by. The classes worked out well and all had good fun, occasionally they even caught a likeness and surprised themselves.
Theo's Art Noir style
Struck by the beauty of the island Theo took his inspiration from his direct surroundings which he interprets in a nostalgic and narrative way. Theo’s emerging artwork has been strongly influenced by the Film Noir genre and his love for the cinema clearly shines through. The characters, and in particular the intricate backgrounds of his paintings, invite the viewer into a story with a promise of a deeper and more complex narrative to unfold. It may not come as a surprise to you, that together with the help of some friends, over 40 fictional short stories were written, each one directly inspired by a painting. You can read some of the stories here in this blog, or check out Theo’s book Every Wall Needs A Story, a collection of 43 fictional short stories richly illustrated with the paintings and preliminary sketches.
Purchased Fine Art Print Man With Bicycle''... The quality of the print it’s exceptional. Theo’s work is beyond words, we love it and planning on purchasing more, and maybe an original watercolour.''
3rd June 2021, Georgia T., United Kingdom
After a local group exhibition in 2009 Theo was looking forward to his first solo exhibition in Limassol at an impressive and magnificent gallery with display space on two floors. To his disappointment only friends and family showed up to the opening night and only one painting was sold. It was a slap in the face, a wake-up call and a sharp realisation that success lies in one’s own hands.
The idea of Theo's open studio and gallery was born.
The growth and far reaching opportunities of the emerging internet made it possible for any individual to reach a wider audience directly, something Theo and his wife Anja embraced and never looked back.
Today many of Theo's original oil paintings can be found in private collections all over the world.
Must visit for those who love art or Larnaca, or both''I saw Theo's pictures on the Internet and instantly knew that I HAD to visit the studio. On the paintings I saw what I love most about Larnaca, something I tried to capture on photos myself a few years ago - Larnaca's beautiful old architecture. And it was painted with so much love and warmth.... I certainly wish to come back to this amazing place and strongly recommend visiting it.''
28th September 2019, LBonita, Yekaterinburg, Russia on Tripadvisor
Cyprus Mail Profile on Theo
Read an article about Theo Michael here in the
Theo Michael's life in short
Born 1954, yes that long ago...
Moved to London in 1960
Career in accounting, boring, I know
Took advantage of the Video boom and opened a small chain of Video stores in 1987 until 2005
Happily married since 1988
Moved to Cyprus in 2005, taking up painting professionally
Theo Michael's exhibitions, past and present
Art by Theo Michael
Open studio and permanent exhibition since December 2011
Agias Elenis 5, 6021 Larnaca
Opening hours: Mon - Fri 10:00-17:00, Sat 10:00-13:00
Cyprus Larnaca Municipal Gallery
Group exhibition January 2016
Group exhibition June-September 2012
Project Art: Larnaca Europe 2012,
Larnaca International Airport
Group exhibition Spring 2015
Group exhibition September-December 2012
Peter’s Gallery International Art Centre Limassol
Solo Exhibition June 2011
Cyprus In Focus
Ilio Tropio Larnaca
Group exhibition October 2009
Permanent exhibition of prints on canvas
Marzano restaurant, Larnaca and Nicosia
Vlachos Tavern Pyla
Visit Theo's open studio in Larnaca