Meet the Humans of Downtown: stories and snapshots from the urban core of Las Vegas
If you frequent Downtown Las Vegas often, you’ve likely seen 84-year-old artist Michael Eramdjian at work. At least once a week he makes his way to Fremont Street, lugging his box of materials and setting up his easel on the sidewalk or in the Fergusons Downtown yard.
“Las Vegas has given me a lot of inspiration to paint,” he told us last Friday as he was working on a painting of Downtown Vintage Barbers alongside our friend Jenny Alyn. On this particular day, Mike had set up at 9 a.m. and was still there at 4 p.m., painting away.
A self-taught artist, the Glendale native has been painting since his early 20s. “It was very primitive,” he says of his early Amedeo Modigliani-inspired works, but a cousin encouraged him to keep at it. Though art is a hobby for Mike, he eventually garnered attention for his stylized use of color and bold brush strokes, finding his way into So Cal galleries.
Before moving to Las Vegas, he would paint Southern California landscapes. Having traded the ocean for the desert, he now loves to paint old motels and street sceneries. “I’ve done every motel [on Fremont Street],” he says.
He may be retired professionally, but he’s still hard at work. “I have more time to spend with my art, which is great,” he says, adding that he paints portraits at home. And if the weather’s nice, you might just spot him on Fremont Street.
“If it’s a good day then I like to come out and paint, like today, for instance.”
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