Born October 21, 1951, Armadillo Art Squad artist Micael Priest passed away September 11, 2018.
Micael Priest was one of the artist involved in the underground comic scene in Austin, Texas, which was mainly based around concert hall Armadillo World Headquarters.
Together with Jim Franklin and Guy Juke, Priest was the leading force behind creating the famous Austin Concert Hall’s artwork, and has drawn posters and album covers for the greatest names in music including the likes of Frank Zappa and The Grateful Dead.
“Micael Priest was the most prolific of the Armadillo Art Squad. Known for his iconic style fo drawing, his work was unmistakable. Quick witted and with an incredible sense of humor, Micael drew his way through life. He created some of the Austin music scene’s most important posters, including the 1972 Willie Nleson poster for the Armadillo World Headquarters — a performance that could arguably be said to have changed Willi’s career and life. From monthly calendars to performance posters and many of the newspaper ads, Micael was the defacto organizer of the Armadillo Art Squad. He ramrodded several poster exhibits at the Dillo. He went on to a long graphic career after the Dillo, but it’s for that huge body of work he will be remembered.”
– Leea Mechling, SouthPop Executive Director
“Micael was so sweet to me when I came to work at the Chronicle. His studio was next door to our ‘offices’. He was easy going and funny (frequently amused by his own stories), and I remember him laughing and telling stories a lot. I was a newbie to the scene and didn’t really appreciate his legendary reputation! All I knew is he would draw the artwork for my short-lived column and it was like being next to Santa’s workshop to be able to get a quick drawing of a piece of pie or whatever I needed for my ads. Those little drawings made the work fun!
“We collaborated on the cover for the second year of the Musicians’ Register (1984). It was a board game for Austin Musicians with the highs and lows of barely making a living from making music in Austin and Texas. Micael was brilliant and delivered the perfect drawing of the ‘Keys to the Caddy’ for the center of the board.
“Micael Priest was the Armadillo World Ambassador and loved by many the world over.”
– Carolyn Phillips, Austin chronicle Employee
“Priest was a walking, talking, real life cowboy hippie cartoon character artist. Ink ran through his veins. When he came to town he changed everything just by being himself. He never heard a story he couldn’t embellish, an experience he couldn’t top, nor a chance to let you in on a pearl of wisdom spoken in a down0home manner so thick you might have thought it was all an act. It wasn’t. He was an original. He was an artist. Capitol A.”
– Kerry Awn, Armadillo Art Squad Artist, and a legend in his own right
“Micael Priest was among my biggest influences as an artist. His work (along with Guy Juke’s) quite literally inspired me as a young artist to being doing poster art for bands. His drawing style and his skill at hand-drawn text defined the Austin music scene in its early glory days. He deserves a lot of credit for helping to turn Austin into the music town it became. Micael was also my friend. I told him often, and even recently, of his influence on my work. I’m glad I said those words. His influence will live on in my art.”
– Billy Perkins, Artist and Graphic Designer
Please enjoy the slideshow below of some of the works that Priest left to us at SouthPop over the years. His work is a quintessential part of the Austin aesthetic, the beauty that brings so many to our little town. If you have kind words or stories to share, please leave them on our facebook page.
RIP Micael Priest