LUXE Life - Creating a Legacy


Michael Gadlin remembers poring over a sketchpad at age eight, filling its pages with the pastels his mother bought for him off a grocery-store shelf. “It was like putting a puzzle together,” he says of the energy he put into his nascent creations. “I recall finishing and thinking that this—filling in every white space on the paper in front of me—was the completion of something.” It was, in fact, the start of something.

Gadlin would later go to the Pratt Art Institute in New York, where he threw himself into drawing and painting courses, taking away the coveted freshman prize of being one of a handful of students nominated for a full-ride scholarship for the balance of his undergrad years. The honor was huge for this fledgling artist who, two years into Pratt’s four-year program, returned to Denver to be close to his mother as she battled terminal lung cancer.

While in Denver, Gadlin befriended up-and-coming artist Darrell Anderson, who had participated in the prestigious Biennale Internazionale dell’Arte Contemporanea in Florence, Italy, in December 2007. Anderson generously mentored Gadlin by giving him a gallery to work in for free in LoDo. “I don’t think I realized then what a big deal it was that he gave me a key,” reflects Gadlin. Beyond a key, Anderson schooled the budding young artist in the business aspects of pursuing an art career, urging Gadlin to promote himself and to pursue contracts for public art installations. Gadlin’s first such honor was to create the art for District 2 Police Station. His 18 panels, each three feet by three feet, fill a nine-by-eight-foot wall and will, in Gadlin’s words, outlive him and even his daughters—a legacy this humble but tenacious artist holds precious. Gadlin’s art hangs in the Vance Kirkland Museum in Denver as well as in other museums.

Gadlin has come a long way from his days on the streets of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, knocking on doors for a sketching job to supplement expenses at Pratt. Today, he often spends entire workdays, with painting palette in hand, inside his 400-square-foot studio at 15th and Pearl Street. He can recite a long list of serious local collectors who hang his work in their outsized homes that boast plenty of wall space. And yet, he still feels he’s just getting started.


LUXE Magazine: The Luxury Home Redefined 2008