By Eva Potter

On Aug. 2, internationally sought performance artist Michael Israel is bringing his heart-pounding, action-packed live show, “Art of Rescue,” to Ellicottville Brewing Company (EBC). This unique art event will raise much-needed funding for the Holiday Valley and HoliMont Ski Patrols, both of which belong to the Eastern Division of the National Ski Patrol.

According to organizers, sponsorship and underwriting assistance are needed. Individuals or groups are encouraged to request comprehensive sponsorship and underwriting package details by contacting Mary Lyn Boberg at (716) 560-5482, or Beth Harvey at EBC at (716) 699-2537, ext. 1, or email beth@ellicottvillebrewing.com.

The EBC audience will have a chance to bid on the paintings created that evening and will also have the opportunity to purchase other original paintings by Israel, in addition to enjoying a wonderful lobster bake or steak dinner.

A phenomenal painter who has performed for celebrities, in museums, on aircraft carriers and on the Olympic stage, Israel enjoys entertaining the audience. But the kicker is that he often does it to help others the best way he knows how — through his art and he does it unlike anyone you’ve ever seen.

Israel’s artistic bent became apparent at a young age. As he grew older, Israel began participating is art festivals and developed a unique method of speed painting to maximize his income, painting up to 500 pieces in a weekend.

“I’d do paintings that would take like one minute, two minutes, and I would go from when the sun came up to when the sun came down,” said Israel. “I would literally paint until I had blisters on my fingers from painting. … I’d set up a bunch of easels and just crank the music up and get into the zone and paint. One day, looking over my shoulder, I noticed there were people, as far back as I could see, watching.”

He realized that if people paid to watch him paint, he could give his art away to help others.

His reputation spread quickly and soon Israel began receiving invitations to do big corporate events, which have taken him around the globe.

These days, Israel performs at about 20-50 events annually. Although he has been donating to charities for over 35 years, he created a special benefit program for charities about three years ago. Israel’s small committee annually selects about 15 charities to support and has provided millions in support ever since.

On Saturday, Aug. 2 in the EBC Beer Garden, you’ll get a chance to see Israel in action at EBC. During his approximately 40-minute performance, self-described as “organized chaos,” he will unleash artistic magic as he jumps, lunges and spins to loud, heart-pumping music while creatively, yet selectively, flinging paint off his brush onto vast 6-foot canvases.

“This is an experience that’s unlike anything else. It sounds like so much hype, but if you talk to anyone that’s been to a show, they’ll … tell you it’s an amazing experience,” he said. “It’s almost like going to a religious rally without the religion, because people get very supercharged. I think that’s why people spend so much to own the artwork, because it’s about owning the experience.”

While his artwork has sold for several hundred thousand dollars and hangs in many private collections, Israel said the image, how it’s rendered or how much it sold for aren’t the focus of his art.

He said, “My job is to help build a relationship between the charitable entity and the people they’re helping year after year, long after I’m gone.”

That said, event attendees will have a chance to become owners of an original painting by Israel. See some of his work at www.michaelisrael.com.

“Anyone that knows what I do, knows they have an option to get a real ‘steal’ at the charity events,” said Israel. Anything goes until midnight of the event.