June 14, 2006

Muralist Michael Fajans Dies

The Northwest loses a visionary, an activist, and a motorcycle buff.

Michael Fajans 1948 - 2006

If you've been inside the new downtown federal courthouse, or through Concourse D at Sea-Tac Airport, you've seen the work of muralist Michael Fajans , who died Monday, June 12, in a motorcycle accident on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Fajans was a major presence on the local arts scene, a community activist, an avid biker, and one of the first artists to establish studio space at Federal Center South, a Duwamish compound that houses an odd assortment of high-security federal agencies and independent artists. His work reveals a fascination with the blunt reality of human forms and faces and everyday settings and actions - elevating them to a grand scale. Former Gov. Mike Lowry commissioned Fajans to paint his likeness for the state portrait gallery, proverbial warts and all. The governor's reported assessment: "I love this painting. The only problem with it is it looks too much like me ." LYNN JACOBSON