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 Michael George Strom  (1948 - )

About: Michael George Strom


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Lived/Active: Oregon/Washington/California      Known for: landscape and portrait painting

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Biography from a third party submitted on 11/20/2006:
Michael G. Strom (aka: the Baron & Danton Thorne) was born in Astoria OR, in 1948 into a fishing, logging, construction family. During his youth he traveled extensively over the western USA as he followed his father’s career as a fisherman and contractor. It was common for the family to move every year to another job site. In 1966 he graduated from R.A. Long High School in Longview, Washington. That summer he worked as a construction laborer in Clatskanie Oregon where he learned to lay water pipe and build foundations.

The 60s were happening and Strom opted for College at Central Washington State College (now CWU) in Ellensburg, Washington versus military service. For the first two years he was a good student and majored in English Literature as he watched people flunk out and go to Viet Nam. During the summers he worked construction or fished commercially on the Columbia River and Alaska. The summer of ‘68 was poor fishing and he had to borrow money to continue school. He took his $1000 loan and went to Mexico instead, with fellow artist, Dick Elliott. They traveled to Mazatlan and San Blas where Strom spent time on the beach, partying and writing poetry. Heavily influenced by Whitman, Thoreau and “Michoacan Gold” Strom developed heavy mystical concepts that drew him deeper into the world of art.

In 1972 following a successful shrimp season in which he’d saved 5 thousand dollars he flew to London and then Paris. In Paris he lived at the Hotel des Nations on the left bank. He read poetry at “Shakespeare & Company.” and decided to emulate his hero, Ernest Hemingway and write a novel. In his hotel room he wrote the rough draft for “A Moment Passed” while drinking Coca-Cola and smoking Galois cigarettes. It took him two weeks to write 40,000 words. After a quick trip to Southern France on the train he returned to the US where he typed out and 80,000 word novel then sent it to Didier publishing in Paris where it was rejected. This was a crushing blow and he quickly assimilated into Bohemian society working in lumberyards, canneries and on fishing boats, but still was writing lyric poetry.

Chasing dreams of being a great artist he indulged in a youthful experimental lifestyle that distanced him from his conservative family that led to a move toward isolation in 1975 when he broke for the Port Townsend art scene and met engraver Heinar Tamme and oil painter Bill Nelson who encouraged his oil painting. He was still searching for the magic combination that would push the financial button that would set him free.

Reaching Port Townsend, a Victorian Seaport that was in the midst of being renovated and turned into a destination for the Hollywood set Strom moved into the Town Tavern Commune located in the ND Hill building on Water Street. The commune ran a tavern and was in the process of restoration by a group of young hippies with idealistic dreams. There he gathered the material for his second novel “Boho Living”. Following a trip to Aspen Colorado to pitch screenplay ideas he returned and wrote “Boho Living” in1978 in a dome tent in second growth timber on an old Smith Corona portable. Gathering this in hand he went to New York where it was rejected by the Hawkins Agency. In New York he spent his last dime on Broadway, lived at the Palace Hotel above the famous Punk music hangout CGBG club run by Hilly Crystal, worked as a plaster on Mulberry Street and hung out at Tony’s Nut House where Tony told him, “There’s nothing for you here. Go back to your mountains.”

He returned to Yakima and ended in major surgery of the septim involving a graft, recovered and eventually drifted back to Port Townsend where he lived in a treehouse where reading the paper one day he answered an ad for joining the navy. He was 33. He went through electronics training became a fire-control technician (the run the gun-fire computer) won two battle E’s a good conduct medal and made second class petty-officer.

Out of the Navy in 1987 he met poetess Carol Thompson Chorn and they moved to Port Townsend. He made ends meet by selling sport & travel stories… Until Carol contracted cancer from which she passed away in 1992. Heart broken he dove into booze and drugs as his lifestyle collapsed but even with these problems he wrote another novel, “Wildwood, a Novel of Art and Adventure”. He met Janna Gelfand and starting writing scripts that she read for Andrew Meyer (producer of “Fried Green Tomatoes”) . But an alcoholic incident caused him to screw this potential gig up.

By this time he’d developed severe health problems stemming from his excessive life style. Diabetes was his primary problem. His eyes have weakened but he continued to write and paint. His work is in various private collections around the world. He continues to work on his book, “Iguana Dreams” and a short story book “Pandora Cassiopiea.” Presently he is learning the internet and working on video projects with fellow artists in the Astoria region.

"Art may be what artists leave behind, but true art is living life creatively."

Biography from a third party submitted on 08/04/2010:
Danton Thorne is a “nom de plume”, of American artist Mike Strom.   Strom’s Thorne series was painted in between the years of 1989 to 2006.   In 2006, Strom and Thorne morphed into Mike Strom, who has been painting and writing ever since.  

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