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Life and style with Michael Warren

Madrona Gallery director is fired up by art and people

- Words and photography by Lia Crowe

I meet Michael at Madrona Gallery to photograph his unique personal style, which, amusingly, he describes as, “Post-raver, mid-art-dealer and pre-retirement.”

Originally from Cambridge, Ontario, Michael moved to Victoria in 2001 to study at UVic.

“I spent my first few years with more attention in the electronic music community than academics,” Michael tells me. “I failed or had to drop a bunch of classes, but one course that I really loved was History in Art. For me, it connected how society worked. You see the politics, economy, religion, class structure and so much more represented through art. So I majored in that and did a minor in Arts of Canada.”

From there, after working a few art jobs, Michael found himself working at West End Gallery in Victoria.

“This is when I knew I wanted to work in the gallery business. It was a great feeling to connect people with art.”

And what aspects of his work get him the most fired up?

“There are two. The art and the people. One needs the other.”

Asked what quality has led to his success, Michael says, “Simply put: just keep going.”

And the best life lesson learned?

“Don’t wait until 4 pm to eat lunch. You will be a better person for it.”


Favourite denim, brand and cut: Naked & Famous: straight leg from Still Life.

Current go-to clothing item: Underwear.

Currently coveting: Comme des Garçons striped long-sleeve shirt.

Favourite pair of shoes: Fluevogs.

Best new purchase: Paul Betenly suit from Outlooks.

Accessory you spend the most money on: Glasses.

Favourite work tool: Tape measure.

Sunglasses: Anne & Valentin and L.A.M.B.

Scent: Usually a mix of anxiety and coffee.

Necessary indulgence: Video games.

Favourite skincare product: Bar of soap.

Style Inspirations & Life

Style icon: Peggy Guggenheim.

Favourite artist: Yves Klein.

Piece of art: Janet Cardiff & George Miller’s “The Forty Part Motet,” presented at the Art Gallery of Ontario in the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre.

Favourite musician: Trent Reznor.

Era of time that inspires your style: A mix of the last 60 years.

Film or TV show that inspires your style or that you just love the style of: Gattaca and the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Favourite local restaurant: Bodega.

Favourite cocktail or wine: Martini—vodka with twist.

Album on current rotation: Stranger Than Fiction by Bad Religion.

Favourite city to visit: Madrid.

Favourite hotel: Banff Springs.

Favourite app: Globe and Mail.

Favourite place(s) in the whole world: A tie between Whistler and a secret place in the Gulf Islands.

Reading Material

What you read online for style: Vice.

Fave print magazine: Inuit Art Quarterly.

Coffee table book/photography book: Canadian Paintings, Prints and Drawings by Anne Newlands.

Last great read: Bunny by Mona Awad.

Book currently reading: State of Terror by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny.

Favourite book of all time: Pretty much anything by Mordecai Richler, especially The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and Barney’s Version.

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication
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