Literary Heroes at Gallery 120

Written by:  Laura Castro of the Largo Public Library in Largo, FL

September 2017



Artist Mike Hanlon began painting portraits of beloved authors five years ago, since then the series has expanded to over sixty paintings... and counting!  Henry Miller was the first author he painted, after that came Patricia Highsmith, after that came many more.


He confesses that when he started, he didn't think he would paint so many portraits.  When choosing who topaint next, he looks at authors whose works he personally admires.  His favorite author is Tom Wolfe of which, he says enthusiastically, he has read everything by him.


When visiting his exhibit, the result of all his hard work gives you the sensation of being in the room with some of the greatest literary minds in history.  Mike's talent for capturing a dreamy-realness of the author's personality gives the effect of feeling like you could have a conversation with the author's portrait.

Indeed, Mike's goal is to deepen the connections people have with authors to "show what they look like, not just their name".

Often, when Mike picks up a book, he will first turn to the back page of the dust jacket to read the author's biography to get a perpective on the author's personality.  Just the same, by visually portraying the humanity behind the byline, Mike helps the viewer learn more about the author as a person.

See the collection yourself, Mike Hanlon's Literary heroes Exhibit, Larger Than Life is currently on view at Gallery 120 inside the Largo Public Library.