This Hoboken Artist is Transforming Keepsakes Into Art

Artist Michael Malizia Malizia utilizes family memorabilia to create unique mixed-media art pieces using acrylics, oil paints and beeswax.

Michael Malizia's art work.
Michael Malizia's art work.
Photo courtesy of of Michael Malizia.

Michael Malizia’s artistic method was born of necessity. He and his wife had run out of storage space for family keepsakes in the 1,400-square-foot Hoboken apartment they share with their two young daughters. “We had accumulated sentimental items that we didn’t want to throw away, including our children’s artwork,” says Malizia.

The solution: Malizia began crafting family memorabilia into unique mixed-media art pieces using acrylics, oil paints and beeswax.

A native of Allendale, Malizia graduated from Cornell University with a degree in design environmental analysis. He embarked on a career in finance, but painted and sketched in his spare time. Eventually, he started experimenting with mixed-media creations. Friends and family admired the work; soon, Malizia began receiving commissions. He left  the finance world to be a stay-at-home dad, and later became a full-time artist, launching My Life Studio in Hoboken in 2014.

When clients request commissions, Malizia, now 40, listens to their stories and sets out to breathe new life into the memorabilia they supply. “I find out their vision,” he says, “and then figure out a way to achieve that.”

Malizia may create a child’s portrait that, upon closer examination, is a texturized collage of kindergarten artwork. He also creates bold, abstract pieces from vintage T-shirts, ticket stubs and other ephemera. Often, clients ask to have a pet’s paw prints incorporated into paintings. For his work, Malizia charges between $500 and $2,000-plus.

“The whole idea,” says the artist, “is taking materials and using them in a different way to create a meaningful and beautiful image.”

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