Mikel Elam

The Capitalist

Visual artist Mikel Elam, at his core, is a creative spirit. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Mikel holds a BFA in painting from the University Of The Arts. After graduating in 1986, Mikel moved to New York City where he was introduced to Jazz-legend Miles Davis who asked Mikel to become his personal assistant and assist him in his second love — making art as a painter. Mikel would work for Miles until his death in 1991. Through this incredible experience, Mikel traveled the world with Miles, moving from stage, to film, to art — sometimes all in one day — learning discipline and how to believe in himself as an artist. Mikel then moved to California to make art, signing with galleries in New York and Los Angeles. When the recession hit, he became an editorial illustrator for magazines and newspapers. In 1997, he moved back to Philadelphia and began to work as an art handler at a gallery in Ardmore, PA, but he never stopped making paintings. He counts as one of the most important lessons he learned from Miles was to be ambidextrous, doing several things at once with both hands. Mikel has been in many art shows around the globe while maintaining a day job as an art installer. In 2008, he worked in Dubai as a mural painter for the Hotel Atlantis Dubai. For the last six years, he has been a full time artist, as well as running an art supply store in Chestnut Hill called Artist & Craftsman.

The Capitalist has one primary goal: profit. Capital gain for Big Business and The Corporation often means a loss for the people and a high cost for our communities. Greed, immoral consumption and gentrification cast a shadow on the capitalist system undermining the benefits of good business and a healthy economy. When fueled by the collective goals of social good and entrepreneurship, new business models can support a thriving, sustainable community.