There is an energy that the mere mention of this artist’s name engenders.

Perhaps this is because energy defines who Delgado is and what he does. Delgado’s persona – self-reflective, honest, spiritual, humorous – is quietly electric: this is a man whose confidence, kindness and strength know no bounds. Delgado’s art – self-reflective, honest, spiritual, humorous – is intensely powerful: this is art that hits us first in the gut and heart, then our minds as we reflect upon Delgado’s subject or the story he is telling.

Unabashed and daring, bold and bright, Delgado’s concern about the human condition is apparent in all he paints. Tragedy, abuse, the mundane moments of everyday being, the happiness we know, the fears we keep at bay, the stories of life. Each painted with the intense energy we have come to expect of a Delgado work. An energy that literally flows off the canvas to permeate our hearts and minds.

Michele Lesko: Michel, what would you say were your artistic influences growing up?

Michel Delgado: It was my curiosity with the world surrounding me in Africa – craft, dance, farmers, musicians. All of this revealed questions to me about our purpose here. I didn’t start painting right away. At fourteen, I sewed, made bags and painted them. I painted fabric, burlap, cardboard. Unfortunately, things around me were very primitive.

Michel Delgado's Art in Empire
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ART ON EMPIRE

In the way of great art, connections with collectors brings exposure to a wider audience. Delgado’s connection with a patron, who happened to be the fashion designer for the hit TV show Empire, reveals his art to a new audience in every episode. Michel Delgado’s work adorns the walls of Lucious Lyon’s mansion along with contemporary artists Michel Basquiat & Kehinde Wiley, iconic artists Andy Warhol & Gustav Klimt and the master Vincent van Gogh. The aesthetic value of the paintings heightens, foreshadows and keeps the rhythm for the Lyon’s family saga.

The first thing that hits one, when a body of Michel Delgado’s work is shown together, is the enormous fecundity of his image making. He cannot seem to avoid producing image after image in what seems a compulsive need to spew his talent out in every direction. It seemed too much of a good thing until I recalled Mae West’s observation that, “Too much of a good thing is wonderful.” Taken individually, each work’s fresh and compelling. Taken in large doses, Delgado’s ability to create ever new variations is overwhelming. If quantity is as important as quality in art, an observation that I firmly believe is true, then Michel Delgado must be regarded as a serious contender in the confusing miss en scene of ‘now art,’ spilling out a panoply of images with the energy of a careless profligate.

– Reese Palley
Art Historian & Author

PaperClips Presents POST: A Studio Preview with Michel Delgado

Michel Delgado’s brightly lit basement studio looks out onto an old, eerily calm, cemetery that belongs to the church next door. It is located in North Philadelphia, yet all he sees are trees, grass, and tombstones. The walls are white, accented in a creamy yellow and are in pristine condition. Delgado surrounds himself with his own work, but it is clear there has not been any painting done in the space. Yet.

Delgado is an artist through and through. He is the sum of all his experiences, embracing the good and the bad, telling his personal story through the art he creates. “For me, art is a belief. If you follow that belief, it will take you to an awesome place.” He has traveled the world, embracing the cultures of each new place he calls home, even if it’s just for a little while. Just this past August, he landed in Philadelphia after finding a studio at Crane Arts Old School, and everything simply fell into place.