Michael Polakowski was born in the Midwestern United States in 1994 and attended The College for Creative Studies where he received his BFA. Following his formal education, Polakowski established his studio practice in Detroit, Michigan as a part of the Fisher Creative Spaces Studio Residency. Polakowski is also an accomplished muralist, having recently completed his largest commission to date for The Detroit Institute of Arts.
Polakowski’s studio work adopts the same visual language of his murals, that being lush detail, vibrant colors, and narrative imagery sourced from Polakowski’s life. The artist diligently observes and documents his environment, processing what he witnesses with a candid and conscious eye to produce his surreal juxtapositions.
Through a perceptive lens of, “not everything is quite right here” Polakowski reveals how beneath the ordinary lies something quite extraordinary. His work is best described as a surrealist depiction of Middle America, an often overlooked and underrepresented narrative within American Art.
Amongst his achievements, Polakowski has participated in duo and solo exhibitions in Detroit and has exhibited across the US and internationally. He participated in the Red Bull Artist residency in 2019 and the Siren Artist Residency in 2020. He has worked collaboratively with commercial clients like Quicken Loans, HOUR Magazine, and Narratively Illustrated. Polakowski has also been featured by publications like Juxtapoz and Supersonic Art.
2017 BFA – College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI
2021 Artist In Residence – Gunner Animation, Detroit, MI
2020 Artist in Residence – Siren Hotel Artist Residency, Detroit, MI 2019 Artist in Residence – Red Bull Arts Detroit, Detroit, MI
2018-2019 Artist in Residence – Fisher Building Creative Spaces, Detroit, MI
2021 Depth of Field Trio Exhibition – Playground Detroit, Detroit, MI
2020 Heat Wave Solo Exhibition – 1xRun, Detroit, MI
2021 How to Kill Your Houseplants Group Show (Curation) – KO Studio Gallery, Detroit, MI 2020 Detroit Presents: Detroit Art Week – Future Fair, New York, NY
2020 A Room with a View Solo Exhibition – 1xRun, Detroit, MI
2020 20/20 Emerging Artists Group Exhibition – Playground Detroit, Detroit, MI
2019 16th Annual Fundraising Gala – Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, MI 2019 Murals in the Market Print Exhibition – 1xRun, Detroit, MI
2019 Fresh Squeezed Duo Exhibition – KO Studio Gallery, Detroit, MI
2018 Boys Will Be Boys Group Show– Whitdel Arts, Detroit, MI
2018 Walking Distance Solo Exhibition – Hidden Gate Gallery, Detroit, MI 2018 ICON 10 Group Show – Red Bull Arts Detroit, Detroit, MI
2016 The Printer’s Devil – The Scarab Club, Detroit, MI
2021 Archive 02 – Saint Maison
2020 Art Maze Mag: Spring Edition 17 – Art Maze
2019 Detroit: Weekend Recap – Juxtapoz
Installations and Commissions
2021 Public Commission for the Partner’s in Public Art – Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI
2020 Private commission for Bedrock Real Estate – Library Street Collective, Detroit, MI
2019 – 2021 Public commission for DTE Energy and Beacon Park – Playground Detroit, Detroit, MI
2020 – 2021 Public commission for Murals in the Market Festival – Murals in the Market, Detroit, MI
2019 Private commission for the Boulevard Project – The Platform, Detroit, MI
2019 Public commission for Bright Walls Mural Festival – Bright Walls Jackson, MI
2018 Private commission for the Milwaukee Junction Project – The Platform, Detroit, MI
Adjunct Instructor – College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI – 2020 – Present
Public Art Program Instructor – Detroit Pistons Community Project, Detroit, MI – 2020-2021