Michael Beck (b. 1943) was born in San Diego California. In 1971, he attended the California College of Arts and Crafts and was awarded the James D. Phelan Award in the Visual Arts, juried by artists Wayne Thiebaud and June Livingston. In June of 2014, he was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant as an artist of distinction.
Michael Beck was part of the early Photo-Realist Movement in California among other contemporaries like Robert Bechtle, Charles Bell, Chuck Close, Robert Cottingham and Richard Estes. Choosing vintage toys as his subject matter, Beck’s work taps into a collective nostalgia for childhood and our idealized version of Americana. Beck positions his object singularly and isolated from any referential setting, allowing viewers to create their own narrative associations. Each piece is painted as if the toy object was placed under a heavy spotlight, creating the illusion of three dimensionality.