Mikel Elam is one of Philadelphia’s most accomplished artistic talents, and a fast-rising star on both the national and international scene. A native Philadelphian, he holds a BFA in painting from the University of the Arts. In 1987, while working on his master’s degree in NYC, he met jazz legend Miles Davis, a life-altering event. Elam began traveling the world with Miles as his personal assistant in music and art. The two collaborated on several paintings, as well as on the set design for The Miles Reunion Show in Paris in 1991. It would be Miles’ last tour before his sudden passing.
Elam’s fine art career continued to thrive with exhibitions on the east and west coasts, while he also began to explore other art forms, including film work, Illustration projects, and set design. Here in Philadelphia, he has been recognized with numerous fellowships and residencies. His Afrofuturistic work is widely exhibited in area galleries, museums, and schools, and is avidly collected by corporate and private patrons. In academic settings he enjoys the chance to interact with young artists interested in knowing more about art and the business side of art. His work was used in the album package for the musical group, Dalek, and he recently created a cover for the Sony-produced Miles Electric Band, a tribute to the genius of Miles Davis with completely new music. This past year a young historian, Dr. J.T. Roane, reached out to use Elam’s work on the cover of his new book, Dark Agoras. Elam is currently creating a site-special piece for the Philadelphia International Airport.