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About Michael Sarno

Michael W. Sarno (1936 - 2015)
For over 70 years, Michael Sarno worked in a wide variety of media, creating art and designing interiors and objects. The scope of his work can be seen in private homes across the east coast, or as far reached as retail gift shops in London. As a child, he had a famous pen pal, Walt Disney, and would send his illustrations to the famous Cartoonist / Visionary for his personal critic and input. Winning many art awards in middle & high school, he accepted a full scholarship to study at Parsons for Illustration. Ironically, he would soon discover that his high school art teachers were far advanced even beyond that of Parsons. After only one year, he decided to leave college and venture out into the world of freelance art and design.

Working early on in his career as Director of Visuals and Store Design for many top department stores in New York, he simultaneously continued with his artwork in many forms. Throughout the decades, as he evolved into a well-respected retail store designer, he never gave up his passion for creating art, whether it be etching, photography, sketching, or large-scale murals for commercial or residential projects, he consistently remained in the art world producing in one way or another. He even authored two books, one an illustrated comical autobiography, the other a touching children’s book, of course illustrated.

As far as his painting is concerned, he was in his most productive time ever during the last 10 years of his life. He created works of vibrantly colored compositions, on various sized canvas and textured panels, colored & clear acrylic, and even shoes and apparel. He had numerous group & one-man shows over the last decade of his life.

Condensed Timeline

  Born in New York City
  1940’s:   Starts creating Art as a child. Inspired by drawings his Grandfather did for him growing up.
  1940’s/50’s:   Winner of multiple Art Shows pre-college.
  1954:   Receives several Art Scholarships, including Pratt & Parsons. Attends Parsons for one year. Drops out to pursue career in Art & Styling.
  1956-Present:   Freelance and contract artist, muralist, sculptor (in traditional, abstract & stylized, techniques) and interior designer.
  1960-1970:   Director of Design (Corporate), store planning, visual presentation. Retail, interior, furniture, fabric and wallpaper design.
  1962-1979:   Designs & Produces live Fashion Show Events. Coordinates the projects with movie, TV and recording celebrities.
  1970-1979:   Director of Design and Display for a large national retail store chain. Creates & develops the entire corporate design, décor and store fixture package.
  1980-1989:   Vice President of Store Fixture Design Company. Full “Turn-Key” programs for corporate clients including design package, complete décor, fixture construction, unit detail and total project coordination.
  1989-1994:   Creates Sarno Associates, a new design & build corporation. Designs and produces retail and institutional projects at corporate levels. Clients include chain stores, professional buildings, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, churches and more.
  1994-2004:   Vice President of Design & Sales for Store Fixture Design & Manufacturing Company.
  2004-2010:   Vice President of Design & Sales for Store Fixture Design Company.
  1994-2004:   Freelance. Designs, renders, photographs and creates high-profile custom catalogs for assorted metal display rack manufacturers.
  2001:   Writes & Directs TV Commercial.
  2011:   Writes & Publishes 280 page comical autobiography. E-Book and soft-cover. Sold via Amazon and his Website.
  2015:   Writes & Illustrates Children’s Book

Art Exhibition Timeline:

  2006:   Part of a very successful group exhibition at Kiana Malekzadeh Gallery, Chelsea, NYC.
  2009:   Exhibits 20 Abstract paintings at World Fine Art Gallery, Chelsea, NYC.
  2012:   Featured Artist in a large two-day group Art's Fair, Temple University, Phila, PA
  2012:   One-Man exhibition at Bama Art Gallery, Hoboken, NJ
  2013:   One-Man exhibition at ArtsQuest (SteelStacks), Bethlehem, PA
  2013:   One-Man exhibition at Right Angle Gallery, Hoboken, NJ
  2013:   One-Man exhibition at Banana Factory (SteelStacks), Bethlehem, PA
  2014:   One-Man exhibition at Nazareth Center for the Arts, Nazareth, PA

Artist Statement
The core and essence of my artwork is spontaneity, yet with direction, thought and meaning. No line, nor splash of color, hits the canvas without purpose. As each layer of paint and technique is applied, I simultaneously calculate and balance color, texture, positive and negative space and overall composition. I try to create a sense of atmosphere and depth, through the controlled use of vibrant colors, and multiple layers. My technique is comprised of building a foundation with acrylic and latex paints using brushes and palette knifes. When the foundation is set, it is followed by splatters, splashes and intended flows resulting in the final vibrant, energetic composition.

- Michael Sarno