Michael transferred from DI Merrimack College to Oswego in 2013 to complete his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and play hockey for the Oswego State Men’s Division III hockey team. During his two years at Oswego, Michael played in 41 games as a defenseman wearing jersey #2, and scored a total of 14 points for the Lakers.
“My time in Oswego will always have a special place in my heart,” Wills said. “The Fine Arts program prepared me for an exciting career as a professional artist and my experience with the hockey team and the Oswego community created memories and friendships I won’t soon forget. This is a great opportunity for me to give back to all of the people who supported me while I was there,” he added.
After graduation, Michael remained in Oswego for the summer to complete an internship with Professional Artist, Multimedia Developer and Fulton native Don Gillespie. Don, of Madeira Beach, Florida, returned to Oswego to re-create a “missing” masterpiece, the 9-foot painting “At the Mercy of Neptune.” Gillespie, who has worked as an artist for NASA, decided to create a replica of the artwork which once hung in his great-grandfather’s Oswego gallery. Don and Michael worked on his project "Cloning Neptune" at the H. Lee White Maritime Museum in Oswego, where the painting is displayed today.
At the end of summer Michael moved to Macon, Georgia to play pro hockey for the Macon Mayhem. It is here that Michael had his first solo art exhibition. After spending half a year in Serbia playing on the pro hockey team, HK Beograd, Michael made the decision to retire from hockey and focus his energy on painting.
In June 2017, Michael landed his second solo art exhibition in Toronto, Canada at the Northern Contemporary Gallery. Through the Toronto exhibition Michael was signed with RAW Artist, giving him international status to showcase around the world. His exhibit from RAW in Toronto was then showcased at Lululemon's Art Gallery in Toronto. As a result, he was signed to a one-year deal with Zenith Art and Fashion Gallery in Miami, giving him more credibility as a professional international artist.
Michael’s inspiration comes from the energy and movement of the subject, which he feels is best captured in lights. Michael likes to create an intense, powerful and energetic feel where people can view the energy and movement in the piece. Painting, like hockey, allows Michael to have a high, intense release of energy. The outward emotional enthusiasm Michael exhibited during his years of playing hockey is now captured in his unique and somewhat abstract interpretations of his subjects.
Michael is generously donating his time and his work to support the ongoing efforts of the Oswego State Blueline Club, the official booster club for the Oswego State men’s hockey team. One of Michael’s paintings will be raffled off over the remainder of the 2017-18 season.
Tickets are available at SUNY Oswego men’s hockey home games and the Blueline Club’s fundraising committee. His other piece will be auctioned to the public at www.oswegolakers.com/mikewills with bids being accepted until 7 PM on Dec. 17, 2017.
For more information about Michael and to see examples of his artwork visit https://www.facebook.com/michaelwillsart/