Mike has spent his whole life on or near the ocean. Early in high school, recognizing his love for the water, he became a lifeguard and a diver. He began working for Metro-Dade Parks & Recreation, where he gave guided canoe tours of Miami’s Mangrove forest channels, educating people about South Florida’s shorelines, everglades, and ecosystem. This eventually led to a career in the US Coast Guard, from which he retired in 2005, returning to his family roots in SE North Carolina.

A big part of Mike’s philosophy is the importance of educating, especially the younger generations so they will learn to love, respect, and care for the environment. He often spends weekends kayaking and camping along NC’s various waterways. 

 Mike has been a member of the Thrive Studios artist collective since 2009, in which he participated in several group exhibitions, and art colonies. For him, art is a sort of therapy. With his newest series, he has fine-tuned his niche within the nautical realm, but with a twist. The paintings are of fishbones, ghostly images of animals slowly disappearing from their natural habitats, seas of blue-greens and rolling waves, (harkening to the not-so-pleasant direction we are headed). “They represent what I feel our aquariums and ecosystems will eventually become,” Mike says. “I guess you could call them ‘aquariums of the future.’” He hopes his work will continue to deepen his understanding of our ever-changing ecosystems and partners with local community organizations to help preserve our aquatic life.