Michael Young has created murals around Estes Park, as well as acted in and written different plays! However, he may be most well known for his position as director of the Catch the Glow Parade. Michael has been involved in the parade, creating floats, for nearly a decade. The illuminated parade occurs annually the Friday after Thanksgiving and is a magical way to kick off the Christmas season in Estes Park.
Artist Q & A
Art form/known for? I am known for several art forms. The Catch The Glow Parade, specialty art pieces for the town and library, my murals around town, my years in theater and plays I've written.
How long have you lived in Estes Park? I've lived in Estes for approximately 30 years...in bits and pieces!
Where is your hometown? My hometown is Littleton, Colorado.
How long have you been practicing your art form I've been practicing my art forms in different amounts of time, depending on which one we're talking about! The Parade for nine years. Murals for approximately 39 years, theater for approximately 21 years and writing plays for 9 years.
Why did you start practicing your art from? I have always had a yearning to paint. It's always been inside of me. I get a tremendous rush from doing murals. I was asked to assist in the parade floats nine years ago, then took over as director two years later. My years of theater set design and construction made the transition into the Parade floats pretty easy!
Who are some of your influences? I don't know if I have any influences, except perhaps any artist out there who was determined to get their artwork seen and appreciated. I truly admire any artist willing to stand behind their work. My "heroes" of the art world are any of the old masters, Michelangelo especially, Norman Rockwell, and an incredible photo-realism artist named Richard Estes.I got the nerve to write plays because of Kurtis Kelly...local ex- librarian and still great friend. I never thought i was good enough to be a playwright, but after being in several plays he wrote, I was so energized by his great skill...i got up the nerve! Now my last play caught the attention of a literary agent, and she's farming it out to publishers. All because of Kurtis!
What has the process been like making a name for yourself in Estes Park? Making a "name" for myself in Estes has been an ultra-simple process. I was asked to do the scenery for one play. Trying to put this modestly, it was successful enough to lead me into doing one play after another. The same with my acting. I did one mural for a business, that mural got seen, and then the offers just kept coming to me. Each mural is a resume for the next job coming along. I've been blessed to never have to do artwork and then wait for someone to see it and buy it. These jobs come to me, it's a guaranteed sale, and it sometimes grows into more jobs.
For the Parade, I just trying harder and harder to build a better parade than the one before it. I see what has worked on a float in the past, and what hasn't. I keep testing myself, and happily, the attendance for our Parade grows every year now. I'm very proud to be able to do that for the town I love so much. I believe that's how my name gets out there as well.
In the theater, I've been able to write better and better plays. You learn as you go, of course, and my last play turned out to be a very popular one for our theater group, The Estes Park Repertory Theater Company. And people always seem to recognize you if you're an actor up here!
What do you hope to do with art in the future? In the future, for the Parade, I'm wanting to experience with new materials, welding for example, to give different looks and shapes to the floats. Always more lights, anything to always make the Parade an event worth coming up here for. I strive each year to do floats that truly capture the feel and spirit of Estes Park. As for murals, I just know Estes Park is ready for some outdoor murals...so many buildings in town could be ideal for just the right kind of mural. In my plays and acting, any way I can improve what I do and always try to give better and better entertainment is a great reward.
What’s your favorite spot in Estes Park? My favorite spot in Estes in Barn W, that old, metal, un-weatherized building at the Fairgrounds. In that goofy structure, I have been able to utilize every talent I have been blessed with, to build on a huge scale, flashy, sometimes elegant, anything to capture the incredible love I have for Christmas, and knowing that I am building something to make Estes Park proud, to be able to give back to this wonderful, wonderful town that is so dear to me. Barn W is the greatest studio I could ever imagine, I can run away with unrestrained imagination, with 100% support from the most wonderful Fairgrounds people. It's my sanctuary in there.
What is the best part of being an artist in Estes Park? For me, the best part of being an artist in Estes Park, is that I have been able to find a niche that is not too heavily populated by other artists. I want this to come out right - I don't have to compete with too many other artists to do what I want to do. Estes Park has incredible sculptors, amazing landscape artists, so many creative people who excel at what I can't do as well, so I am blessed to be in an area of art where I can really excel and prosper. And the great, great support from business owners whom I paint for, the theater going public, the parade attendees, all of this is so incredible in Estes Park.
What do you do around Estes in your free time? In my free time, I usually do nothing! A lot of television and old movies. Artists and creative people need downtime. It may look like were sloughing off, being lazy! What we're really doing is re-energizing our creative batteries. When we create, we usually burn and burn and burn, pushing ourselves for long periods of time. We need to just shut down creatively during the breaks between projects. But at home, in the evenings, I do paint-by-numbers! Seriously. One of the greatest therapies I know.