Many artists speak of the accidental ways they found their path towards art — Mike Fantuz is not one of those artists. Born in Guelph, Ontario, the foundation of Mike’s artistic career began even before his birth, specifically in the 1940s. This was the decade Mike’s grandfather, Gastone Fantuz, immigrated from war-torn Italy to Canada and began his own artistic career.
It was a gift from his aunt and uncle — his grandfather’s palette knives and easel— that shaped Mike’s artwork today, forming his characteristic method for creating original oil paintings in his distinct, American realist style with nothing but palette knives. It was this unique relationship to the use of palette knives that initially connected Mike and his wife, Emilie Fantuz, an artist who also employs palette knives and oil paint in her work. In addition to palette knives, Mike takes an artisan’s approach to each aspect of his work, stretching his own canvases using Canadian kiln-dried wood from renewable forests and archival, environmentally-conscious hemp canvas. Today, Mike Fantuz continues creating artwork in his signature style, an emotive fusion of expressionism and realism, while carrying on his grandfather’s tradition of using palette knives. His work has been featured in several solo exhibitions and belongs in collections within Canada, the USA, Italy, and England and the collections of the Government of Newfoundland and the City of St. John's among others.