ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — We all have different perceptions of how a place looks and feels.
Through the whimsical art of Michael Birawer, Minnesota has a decidedly fun look and feel.
“Our eyes are more used to seeing things in 90-degree angles and straight lines,” Birawer said. “What I want to offer is just another perspective of that, another impression of how we look at things.”
Birawer, 43, is currently working on a Winter Carnival scene around downtown St. Paul’s Rice Park. The classic architecture gives him plenty to work with, but he’s really focused on people and their memories.
“I just remember being a little kid and going to the Winter Carnival, and the Vulcans would come crashing in,” he said. “And as a kid, it was quite an event.”
He grew up in Cottage Grove, unsure that anyone could make a living as an artist. He’s now been selling his Minnesota scenes for about 15 years.
At the Deck The Walls store at Mall of America, Mika Kieffer went shopping for about 10 of Birawer’s pieces to hang throughout the law firm where she works.
“There’s something that’s just striking about this artwork. There’s so much stuff happening in his artwork that it’s just interesting,” she said. “We want people to stop by and look at it like, ‘Oh that’s cool.'”
Birawer also has fans at Target Field. The Minnesota Twins commissioned a 3-D piece of art that hangs in their front office.
Now he’s expanding beyond Minnesota, taking his comical style to San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas, Chicago, New York, Boston and Washington D.C.
“I’m just kind of on the train and I’m just kind of traveling through,” he said. “And it’s like I find a city that is inspiring to me and there’s just certain bells and whistles that really turn me on to the city.”
He’s learned you can make a living as an artist when the work you’re creations makes a personal connection.
“You know I have to shake my head sometimes because I’m like, ‘How did this happen to me?'” he said. “This is what I do and it’s what I enjoy to do.”
Birawer is hosting a signing event at Mall of America on Nov. 22.
Send us your Finding Minnesota ideas here!