Celebrating Man’s Best Friend: Meet Painter Michael Vistia

Written by Artie The Panda

Plenty of folks would call themselves “dog people.” But not everyone turns their affection into a career that artfully celebrates man’s best friend. Florida artist Michael Vistia has done just that with his bright, joyful depictions of his customers’ furry companions. 

Bow Wow

Michael’s mediums of choice are oil paint, automotive metal flake, and resin. He donated the vibrant work above, “Happy Lab,” to Southeastern Guide Dogs, which raises, trains, and gives away elite guide dogs to serve people with vision loss, veterans with disabilities, and children with significant challenges. His “Bailey Grace” (below) is a custom portrait for a family who owns six basset hounds.

Paw Prints and Canvases

Michael creates custom-painted canvases and prints up to 36"x46". Commissions can be even larger. Michael depends on Frame Destination for the stretcher bar frames as well as mats and Crystal Clear Bags for certain art shows. "All my framing needs have been ordered through Frame Destination for many, many years now because I do not have to be concerned about what I will receive," says Michael. Fun fact: his work has been featured on TV by the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, National Geographic, and Fox Sports.

Bailey Grace

See More of Michael’s Work

Discover canine creations galore (and a few cats, too) at MichaelVistia.com. If you’d like to catch his work at a gallery or festival, visit his Instagram. Wonder how he got started in his craft during his Midwest childhood and what he does about creative blocks? Those things and more are revealed in my Q&A below. 

Now for Artie’s Eight Q&A with Michael Vistia…

1. What is your background; how did you get started?

As a boy of 9 years old, my first experience with dogs was with Sammy, a West Highland Terrier, who showed me that between two beings it only takes one to make a relationship work. I noticed that no matter my own mood, Sammy’s only response was love. This was tremendously impressive, and eventually led to my own evolution inward, thinking that if we could all achieve what dogs are expressing naturally as unconditional love, what a beautiful world it would be! From that point on, my heart was opened and I decided to paint my first canvas of Sammy. This led to creating a life of celebrating our deep connection with dogs through my work as a painter.

2. What role do you think the artist plays in society?

To distract attention away from any challenging experiences that result in a negative effect and to redirect or realign that energy to the positive. Success in all aspects of life only comes from a positive state of being. 

3. What has been a formative experience or the best advice you’ve received within your career?

To let go of fear, ego, and belief. To remain positive, especially in the face of challenge. To allow the world to be as it is (the things you cannot change) and to be the example of positive possibility, rippling out to anyone who can use it.  

4. In what ways does your work reflect your personality?

By never forgetting the innocent inner child who wishes to play and become helpful to others.

5. Creative blocks, do you get them? If so, how do you overcome them?

I stop forcing the moment and decide to do something completely unrelated that brings me joy. 

6. What is your most indispensable tool? (Not counting the obvious, like paints, brushes, canvas, camera, etc.)

A healthy, clean, clear state of being in which all tools can thrive. 

7. Do you have a new project you are working on, or a new passionate idea?

The idea is always the same: to bring smiles and inspiration to more and more people.

8. What is your favorite color to incorporate into your art?

Many colors are my favorite within their specific frame of reference.

All artwork and/or photographs used in this post are subject to copyright held by the featured artist.

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Last Updated August 18, 2022