Angling Artists: Mike Savlen


Mike Savlen, a native of Plymouth, Massachusetts, has always been a passionate outdoorsman, angler, and artist. He sold his first painting at 16, but it took him many years and a long, incredible journey before becoming a full-time artist.  This journey took him all around the world and he held jobs in many different professions. From working as a commercial fisherman to owning a nightclub and a construction business, enlisting in both the United States Army and the Navy, Mike has nearly done it all. However, he was never quite able to find the happiness in those jobs that painting brought him. Through all his ventures, his true love always remained being outside experiencing nature and fishing, and Savlen’s art is how he learned to express his deep love for the outdoors. After his second military enlistment, he rolled the dice, and at age 37, plunged into painting as a profession in 2000. By 2005, he was a full-time artist and opened Savlen Studios in Key West, Florida, with his wife Donna-Lee Savlen.   

Savlen began with realism paintings, which became less exciting over time, so he decided to make a change. He wanted to stand out and express his own personality in his work, so began painting in a more abstract style. Mike now is most widely known for his creative pieces and stepping outside the box to create unique renditions of familiar gamefish.  

An abstract take of a trout going for a fly, by Mike Savlen.

Mike has always enjoyed painting trout over all else. A love for fly-fishing for trout and their unique and colorful patterns, allow infinite possibilities and endless creativity. 

Students and aspiring artists from all over the world have reached out to Mike to ask for advice and help with their own works. To Mike, this has been one of the coolest parts of becoming a professional artist. He’s always willing to give advice and help guide future artists. 

Mike’s talent is not only painting on a canvas – he has done amazing works on murals, tiles, and even people. His work is displayed on the Pompano Beach Pier parking garage and he has also finished 60 pieces for the Pompano Beach Fishing Pier, which will open in October of this year. 

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