Category: art therapy

Today marks my mother’s Birthday, which means it is a day of celebration. It is also the anniversary of my father’s suicide, making it a day immense weight. It’s a mix of emotions, but certainly a day of feeling a great deal.

I did not learn of my father’s story until I was 28 and reconnected with my long lost family. Shortly after, I wrote “Michael’s Note” (pictured here), the suicide note my father never left. It was followed by “Reign Upon Sunrise,” a 5 year tribute project navigating a spectrum of emotions, thoughts, and experiences…a life that continued after another was lost. It reflects heavily upon they dynamics of relationships, mental health, and my own personal battles that almost let to a similar fate.

Check out my blog story at for more on this including the transcribed copy of “Michael’s Note.”


“Beneath The Wings Of Free Swan (Deanne’s Song)” is the last tribute painting I did for Deanne, finally acknowledging that she may, in all likelihood, not be coming back. It was so difficult to encapsulate all that Deanne was. That’s probably why I dedicated so many pieces to her. She also deserved more. She was a major influence on my work and the man I am today. I was trying to get a decent photo of this painting when I got caught up with the way the light was playfully illuminating it.

Painting Statement: This painting took me almost three years to get to because I didn’t want to address it or acknowledge it. This is the tribute painting for Deanne Hastings, my best friend and the woman I loved. Deanne disappeared near the border of Washington and Idaho at the end of 2015. She used to call me “Wings” and is the reason I have them tattooed on my back. She would always tell me stories about the archangel Michael and say I was her guardian angel, there for her through a number of trying predicaments and loving her unconditionally. This is the one time I was not able to be and I think about it every single day. Now I’m under her wings and this tribute is her swan song as she is finally freed of her cage and hopefully at peace. I love you Deanne.

Original and prints available. Get yours + Carini Arts gear at and please also check out my new blog post with my Deanne update. Sharing her story is the best way you can help bring closure to her story.

Braska showing some love in front of my largest singular painting to date, “Astranomelly.” Acrylic on canvas. 78in x 120in. Original and prints available.
Commencing upon the precipice of homelessness, “The Boy In The Box” collection follows the rigid geometric structuring of the “The Up-Side Of Down” and represents the perpetual quest for personal freedom and breaking outside of the box.

“Astranomelly” was the culminating piece of my artist residency in Downtown San Diego. During the months of April/May (2012) I spent 50 days painting on Broadway Avenue, generally averaging 10-12 hours per session and never taking a single day off. Basically living in the studio as I found myself on the precipice of homelessness, this climactic creation measures 6.5′ x 10′ and is representative of my collective experiences as “The Boy In The Box.” The culture shock of the residency experience made this both an artistic opportunity and a sociological experiment as I found myself imbued with the regionalism of this foreign community and was indoctrinated into their culture. The individuals that visited and shared their stories during my tenure in the box were all incorporated into the painting, their names inscribed in the underpainting that surrounds the iconic vortex (or black hole) that is simultaneously a symbol of the outward eyes looking in at me as I poured my soul into the canvas. The concept for “Astranomelly” came to me on a car ride home at 3:30am as I listened to the track “Battling the Sun” by local musician Astra Kelly. I had met Astra earlier that evening when she stopped in during a rare San Diego storm. The rest of the story I now leave with you.

-Michael Carini 

More from Carini Arts including canvas prints of this painting, jewelry, hoodies, shirts, jerseys, leggings, and even custom blankets at


“Reconstruction Of the Chimera (Zachericle).” Acrylic, ashes, and cut painting on canvas. Original is 60in x 60in.

“Reconstruction of the Chimera (Zachericle)” tells the story of the mythological phoenix while also incorporating personal narrative elements and concepts of the ouroboros & chimera. Created during my 2012 artist residency, it was inspired by a young man named Zach. Zach would stop by on a daily basis to grab a piece of candy from the bucket I left by the door for those passing by. One day, Zach decided to step in a little further than usual which led to a deeper conversation. I handed Zach a print of my work for stopping by, at which point tears welled up in his eyes. It was at that time that Zach told me he had been living on the street and was just accepted into a program where he would have a bed to sleep for the first time in a long time. My print, he said, was one of the only things in his possession that he could call his own, and the first thing for him to hang above his bed. By the time I finished this painting, Zach had stopped coming by. I don’t believe he ever saw it and hopefully that’s because he’s doing well. Sometimes we just need a chance to start over.

The ashes in this piece are from a painting I burned titled “The Transmutation of Miss-Tere” and the cut fragments are from a piece titled “Sacrifices and Second Chances (The Day Eye Made The Devil Blink).”

You can get prints of this painting at and you can also check out some of my YouTube content showing me sacrificing the painting used to create and give birth to this story.

-Michael Carini

Up close and personal as I finish up my latest painting in the studio focusing on mental health and depression. This piece is available. Message me for inquiries.
More at

Michael Carini | Work In Progress

“If I Die Today (Jack The Ripper).” Acrylic on panel. 48in x 24in. Visit for prints of this painting. This was one of the very first paintings from the collection of works I did immediately following my assault and battery and reflects upon facing death.

“The Up-Side of Down” series was inspired by a 2009 assault and battery that hospitalized me with multiple facial fractures, severe eye trauma, and a concussion. My signature icon, which I saw flashing in my head during the concussive state, is a key repeating element in this series that represents life growing from death and discovering the positives in negatives.


And some days when she’s blue, holding on is her progress.