Michael Godard, The #1 Selling Artist in the Country Today!
Great success stories in life can start with the most
unlikely elements. Take Michael Godard. Who would have guessed that
America was hungry for fine art featuring olives, grapes and
strawberries with human characteristics?
Born in Southern
California, Godard was a precocious kid with a multitude of talents and
a dark home life filled with hidden abuse. He excelled in math, music
and art—quite an achievement, considering that his family moved around
so much that he attended a total of sixteen different schools. He used
humor as his defense and his weapon. As a young man he attended the Art
Center College of Design in Pasadena and studied fine art at the
University of Nevada in Las Vegas.
The decision to become a
full-time Artist came later in life. Michael took on Mechanical
Engineering, Commercial Illustrating, Caricature Artistry and he was a
successful Entrepreneur. Nothing came easy—he fought his way into an
art career, inventing his own path and his own one-of-a-kind style.
Godard says, “First I learned the rules of the art world, then forgot
them all and painted the way I wanted to.”
Olives entered the
picture when Godard was struggling through his daughter Paige’s
illness, spending long hours in the hospital when she was in a coma.
Desperate for some cheerful element to keep him afloat emotionally, he
started a new series of paintings--bringing olives to life in humorous
scenarios, rendering them in bright colors against a dramatic black
“Three Amigos”, “Olive Party” and “Seven Deadly
Zins” were all breakthrough pieces for the young artist, launching him
to national recognition. His wild marketing stunts brought more
notoriety. “I don’t mind criticism from the art world or the public,”
says the artist. “Without it, I’d know I’m playing it way too safe.”
the country’s biggest selling artist, the “Rock Star of the Art World”
creates his famous martini-themed artwork for a huge collector base of
celebrities, musicians and regular folks who love his irreverent
subjects and vibrant style. There’s a long waiting list for Godard
original paintings (priced upward of $75,000) and his sold-out giclees
bring big bucks on the resale market.
He looks like a tattooed
outlaw and runs with the bad boys, but Godard has a soft streak a mile
wide. He’s a great dad, contributes to many charitable causes,
(including the Paige Godard Foundation, established to help fund
research to cure the illness that ultimately took his daughter’s life
in 2006) and has learned in the school of experience to value the
things that really matter in life. “Put good in, get good out,” is one
of the artist’s favorite sayings.
Who is this person that claims to be the Best Selling Artist in the World?
Michael Godard. But looking at him, it just can’t be true. And his crazy, whimsical art...how could it sell more than any other art in the world? Well, the fine art establishment was the first nay-sayer. Annoyed by Godard’s marketing tactics, like go-go dancers inside clear cylinders and loud rock music at the snobbish New York Art expo, they tried to shut him down from the very start. With depictions of the “good life” through little olive and grape people, flaming dice and Phat Cats and gangsters sitting on piles of $100 Bills, who did this guy think he was? You’ve got to be kidding.
All kidding aside, which is hard for Godard because he has a funny snippet for every life situation, “I don’t care what anybody else thinks”, he says. “I’m here to be true to myself and do what I can for my family. If anyone else doesn’t like that…(wink), (gesture). I wasn’t smart enough to know I couldn’t do this…so we charged ahead, demolishing fine art community standards like ‘you can’t sell fine art unframed’ or ‘you can’t paint on a black canvas because it won’t print right’”.
Well, it seems to print fine with Michael’s company, Michael Godard Fine Art Associates selling between 400-1,000 limited edition giclee’s on canvas every month. And with hundreds of galleries around the world selling his fine art and thousands selling his prints and licensed art products like humidors, poker sets, pub tables and chairs and t-shirts…his art is getting around.
What a GREAT Vegas success story! Starting around seven years ago, Godard and a business partner threw all the money they had, which wasn’t much, in to launching an out-of-the-box marketing approach to sell his art. First, they were running up and down the Pacific Coast Highway selling art to the beach cities’ galleries in Southern California by day, and buying canvas and painting more by night. Eventually, Godard convinced Todd Rubin, owner of The Art Center Gallery in the Westminster Mall to have a show. Nobody came. And if Todd would have given up then, “he wouldn’t have the millions he has today”, says Godard’s cousin and sales manager, Ralph Chisum.
Michael Godard soon relocated back to Las Vegas, where he had spent a lot of time growing up in the harshest of home-life environments. His art took hold, and “Oh My Godard” galleries started to spring up around the country. Painting furiously to keep up with demand and to keep his soul clean, millions of dollars started to flow in and his appearance schedule had him traveling 30 weeks of the year. “We were going so fast, and so much money was coming in, there was no way I could keep tabs on everything”, says Godard.
Godard became a pop-icon, often referred to as “The Rock Star of the Art World”. Once success was in hand, his manager gave Michael permission to grow his black hair, paint his fingernails black, wear gaudy silver jewelry and have his arm sleeved on the TV show “Inked” filmed at the Hart and Huntington Tattoo parlor in The Palms Hotel/Casino here in Las Vegas. He also befriended Criss Angel, MINDFREAK and Angel filmed one of his magic episodes pulling martini glasses (with martini intact) and rolls of hundred dollar bills out of one of Godard’s original paintings. Angel even ate the olive, drank the martini, and pushed the glass back in!
One of Godard’s most interesting local associations is with Motley Crue rocker Vince Neal. In high school, they played in a band together called Rock Candy. After separating, Vince teamed up with Tommy Lee and The Crue was born. Godard went on to form his own band, The Outcast, but rock fame was not in the cards, or drums, for Godard. Decades later, after Godard made it big in the art world, he was looking for a home in a posh Las Vegas neighborhood when the realtor pointed at the house next door and said “Vince Neal lives there”. Godard pounded on the door, he and Vince were reunited and they went and got a “tat” together! They’ve been neighbors and friends since.
Godard is still painting furiously and traveling more than ever, now with a contract with Princess Cruise Lines that has him on four cruises every year. On his last cruise, a two-week cruise to Australia, Godard wooed and awed the crowd, selling his art like a seasoned carny selling darts to pop balloons! Godard loves his fans and collectors, and is never too busy for a talk, autograph and a smile.
And so Godard has defied the odds, quieted the nay-sayers, survived a hairy Las Vegas childhood and shocked the fine art community by selling more art than anyone else in the world. And the trend is really just getting started. Godard attracts new people to fine art that otherwise never would have cared, like Tiger woods attracts people to golf. His work is just going global, and Las Vegas visitors that encounter his work here at The Michael Godard Art Stores in the Town Square Las Vegas and the Galleria at Sunset in Henderson are becoming avid collectors.
Michael Godard’s philosophy has always been “Put good in, get good out”, as he is deeply involved charitably with Steven Spielberg’s Starlight Starbright Foundation and his good friend Ozzie’s wife’s Sharon Osborne Foundation for Cancer.