With bold rich colors, dramatic composition and balance, Mike creates work perfect for hospitality, corporate, and residential. Materials include coffee brewed to different concentrations, wood relief with oil paint detailing, oil paint on panel, and steel fire sculpture.
Mike Lanni was born in Los Angeles, the third son of an Electrical Engineer and an Elementary School Librarian. He started drawing at age three, beginning a lifelong passion for art, science, and creation. For most of his young life he focused on realistic drawings of action scenes and portraits.
Mike did not understand or accept abstract art until his late teens when everything changed on a visit to the museum with his uncle, William Randolph Griffith, a retired art history professor. Looking at Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Blue 1″ from 1916, Mike’s uncle explained the piece was not a representation of anything, it was a “Novel Entity.” Georgia O’Keeffe had created it entirely from her own imagination. It was new, purposefully mean not to be a reflection or a representation of any other thing.
That idea shook Mike. Until then he thought art was about mirroring life, not creating it. The possibility of creating a new piece of life, something that had not existed before and was not derived from anything was an exciting and daunting challenge. That is a challenge that still drives his work today.
Throughout his life, Mike has been interested in Human Psychology. Specifically, how we interact in groups and in society. This curiosity led him to earn a Bachelors of Science in Behavioral and Social Psychology from the University of California San Diego, where he worked with children with Autism teaching language and social interaction for three years. During this time, Mike minored in Painting and Sculpture, building his skills in the arts and doing work influenced by his psychological studies. He has always felt the work of an artist is to reflect and help recreate human consciousness, bringing together the reflection of life from his young art, and the endeavor to create something new. Mike’s greatest hope is to offer artwork that challenges the status quo and helps to create a better world.
After college Mike went on to complete a dual masters in Organizational Psychology and Business Administration at Claremont Graduate University. He focused on Leadership and Program Evaluation in order to better understand leaders who have changed the world, and how their actions impacted their cause. He focused on leaders like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Mandela, who practiced Transformational Leadership. This is the leadership of support and creating leaders in every person, training them to create more leaders around them.
Transformational Leadership is in stark contrast to the charismatic command and traditional control model seen across the world of politics and business. The study of Transformational Leadership inspired Mike to dig deeper into the impact an artist can have in the world. If we are all capable of world changing leadership, what can we create through art?
From 2003-2010 Mike spent time working in the business world. First consulting on organizational design for small and large business, then working in sales and marketing in the high-tech industry, gaining the experience and knowledge he needed to join Yelp.com in its infancy. Starting in 2007, Mike helped build Yelp from a small 20 person startup to one of the most used websites today. During this time he continued to work and develop his craft as an artist, selling his art in San Francisco and experimenting in mediums such as coffee, oil paint, and wood. He found success with his early Coffee Art, and has been developing it ever since.
In 2011 he transitioned from the business world to being a full-time artist and moved back to Los Angeles. He is now focused on his first love, creating new life in his studio. Using every experience and continuing his education in art, science, and leadership, Mike creates art with multi-media including Coffee Art, Oil Painting, Wood, and Metal Sculpture.
Mike Lanni’s works of art are far from subtle. The Coffee Art Series is sexy, alluring and quite surprising, as the central medium of each piece reveals itself to be a substance, near and dear to many of us: Coffee. The pieces leap off the wall, combining minimal composition with high contrast mono-chromatics, refined by a polished surface treatment. Equally surprising are the depths of color the coffee yields, which is determined by the varying degrees of concentration. The designs are gently guided by the artist’s hand, and then left to their natural evaporation process. As the stains settle and coagulate, they reveal occasional grains of sediment, bringing to mind the gypsy traditions of reading our future in coffee grounds or tea leaves. Indeed many of the images could second as Rorschach tests, as our eye and mind wrestle for supremacy. It’s no wonder this young artist’s pieces of art have tripled in value the last two years.
Mike working on a Coffee Art piece