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Tiger’s Colorful Art and Life

If you walk into the Vintage Wine Bar (1790 Market St.) anytime between now and Aug. 29, you’re going to notice an explosion of color on the walls. This month’s exhibit features the paintings of Tiger Joe Michiels, whose paintings are a colorful reflection of his vibrant life.

Michiels was born and raised in Hollywood and literally partied with rock stars as a young man — the Beatles, Donovan, Frank Zappa. He rode motorcycles with Steve McQueen and “The Great Escape” stuntman Bud Ekins.

He spent decades traveling throughout the world with his company, Michiels International Inc., which provided and facilitated building products for foreign companies. He also lived and worked on ranches throughout the West. He rode the Magdalena Trail in New Mexico.

And these things, he explains, are just the tip of the iceberg.

“I grew up in Hollywood, this cataclysmic epicenter of culture, but also lived where there are no telephones and no electricity,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate to experience two completely different sides of life.”

Michiels created most of the vibrant paintings on display at Vintage (a stop on tomorrow’s 2nd Saturday Art Hop) between 2000 and 2009. He started drawing in high school, influenced by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and Von Dutch (Kenny Howard), icon hot rod artists whom he still credits as inspirations.

A self-taught artist, Michiels often starts with a realistic image in his head, but almost never finishes there. His work includes wild, almost maniacal mask-like faces, odes to favorite haunts like the Sunset Grill on Sunset Strip, and Jack’s Grill steakhouse in Redding.

A reception for Michiels’ show will take place at 6 p.m. at Vintage on Tuesday (Aug. 11). The reception is free, and an optional $5 per person wine tasting event will benefit the Sundial Film Festival. There will be music by Abigail Live.

If you attend, be sure to ask Michiels about sleeping in trees during a cattle drive. It sounds like it’s one of about a million great stories from his colorful life.