Graphite & Colored Pencil Drawing on Paper, 2018

“Imperial Fishing Knife” by Mike Pitzer

If you were a boy growing up on the St. Clair River in Algonac, Michigan, there was a good chance you got hockey gear for Christmas and fishing stuff for your birthday. My parents gave me this fishing knife when I was about 11 or 12. It had a razor-sharp, 3-inch blade and as I said on Facebook, I probably opened more pop bottles with it than I did using it to clean fish. The only rule was I couldn’t take it to school.

From an artist standpoint, there is just something about this piece that makes it my favorite. It may be the pearlescent handle or the reflective blue in the steel of the blade, this piece speaks to me at so many levels.

Imperial Fishing Knife by Mike Pitzer
Imperial Fishing Knife detail by Mike Pitzer
Imperial Fishing Knife detail by Mike Pitzer
Imperial Fishing Knife detail by Mike Pitzer

My art is not an exercise in, nor an attempt to master hyper realism. My drawings came from an inner desire to find “happiness” again. A creative satisfaction I was no longer getting from simply being an advertising Creative Director. Don't get me wrong, I love the ad biz, but the last several years had sucked the happiness out of it for me. My wife, Lynn encouraged me to start drawing again and as I did I looked for that thing that would inspire me. That "thing" turned out to be “things” that made me happy as a kid growing up in Algonac, Michigan. As I continue to see, these things make other people happy too.

As an ad guy, I thought there had to be an art movement out there like “tribalism” or “familiarism”, art that people identify with at an emotional level. (OMG! Ad speak...) I haven't found one yet. Lynn had an idea that sounded interesting — “Evocationism”. She said it was the act of calling forth — evoking of old memories. From postings on Facebook, that's what's happening. Friends are telling me how fun and cool this series is. Which is why I've been calling this work “Happy Art” — because it's brought my happy back!
shutter stock


  • Title: “Imperial Fishing Knife”

  • Artist: Mike Pitzer

  • Medium: Graphite, Colored Pencil on Paper

  • Image Size: 34" T x 16" W

  • Framed Size: 23" T x 41" W

  • Signed & Dated: MPitzer '2018

  • Series: “Happy Art”


  • Happy Art

  • Fig Tree Gallery

  • Drawing

  • Pencil Art

  • Imperial Fishing Knife

  • Mike Pitzer Artist

  • Fresno Artists