Nate Giorgio: Artist and Friend of Michael Jackson

July 22, 2012

There often exists a close relationship between dancers and other artists.

From musicians and singers, to photographers and other types of visual artists, often, their careers are closely intertwined with those in the dance world.  One such artist is Nate Giorgio.

Nate Giorgio is one of today’s most respected, influential and award-winning fine artists.  Known for his masterful paintings and stunning portraits, Nate was born in Binghamton, New York, began his professional art career in New York City, and later moved to Los Angeles, California.  In 1984, Nate Giorgio, signed an exclusive contract to be Michael Jackson’s personal artist.  In addition to the private commissions, exhibits and artwork sold around the world, his illustrations appear inside and on the cover of the ‘Michael Jackson Opus‘ and in Michael’s book ‘Dancing the Dream‘, to name just a few.

Nate Giorgio Portraits: Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, & Michael Jackson

How did Nate Giorgio originally meet Michael Jackson? 

Nate Giorgio: “I read how he loved art so I did a few paintings and sent them off to his office. I was still in NY and one day his assistant called me. She said MJ’s right here dancing around when he saw your art, he wants to meet you. Within a few weeks he flew me out to his home in Encino and we met. We went to see a rough cartoon version of Captain EO! At Disney studios, him and I just sitting there eating popcorn checking out the film. It blew me away and it was still rough, hand drawn segments mixed with live action.”

The Artwork of Nate Giorgio

About this photograph below of Nate Giorgio and Michael Jackson:

Nate Giorgio: “Sam Emerson, Michael Jackson’s Personal photographer, took this picture of me and MJ.  At the time, in 1988, I was MJ’s guest on his BAD tour in Rome.  We were actually at a party in this photo, just hanging out when MJ just asked Sam to get a shot of the two of us together. This party might have been at one of the Embassy’s.   I’m not sure.”

Michael Jackson and Nate Giorgio (Photo by Sam Emerson, Rome, 1988)

The notion of celebrity and Nate Giorgio’s take on this phenomenon with Michael Jackson


If a person lives long enough, it is not that unusual–maybe at least once in a while–to encounter someone who is considered famous.  Especially if you live in areas such as New York City or Los Angeles, celebrity sightings can be a relatively common occurrence.  In most of these instances, however, you get the feeling that the person can lead a relatively normal life. Sure, they get double takes and the occasional request for an autograph, but by and large, the person of particular recognition can go out wherever or whenever they please.

With Michael Jackson, however, that was definitely not the case. I think you probably got a glimpse of that when you worked with him. What insight do you have into that aspect of Michael Jackson’s life?

 Nate Giorgio:

“Yeah, MJ couldn’t go anywhere without being mobbed. I saw a lot of that from early on at the height right up to the time he passed.  I would see this when I would visit him at the Carolwood home.  At one of my visits to his house, in 2009, there was the usual crowd of fans at the front gate.  When I met with him inside a short while later, I said, “Man, how do you do it?  Day in and day out, you constantly have to deal with people wherever you turn.”

“MJ just looked at me and smiled as though it did not bother him one bit. He had that expression on his face that said that this was something he dealt with because it was a part of him.  From such an early age, he had just gotten so used to it.  MJ felt that the fans truly were an extension of his image.  He thrived on it, and this is one of the reasons he commissioned paintings like the hero pieces I did. These paintings represented the image he wanted to project for the fans, as much as for himself.”

“People always talked about how he was a prisoner, and that he could not go anywhere. Like all serious artists, however, he was mostly just a loner.  MJ did not seem to worry about living a normal life. When an artist creates, that artist steps into his own little world, which is a much stronger place than people think. That world is not fragile, but is instead full of power and creativity.  MJ, I believe, was like this.  It is very difficult to even compare him with any other celebrity.  Because of his unparalleled artistry, MJ viewed his isolation much differently than one would expect.”

“And, at times, he did go out and there were his children, who meant the world to him.  MJ loved studying and discussing art and  frequently met with other creative people he admired.  So fame never kept him from doing what he loved. That’s for sure.”

Nate Giorgio:  

“This is a photo I took in Italy, in 1988, while looking out the window and down at the tour bus I rode in with MJ while in Rome for his Bad concert tour. Fans would swarm the front and back,  so we couldn’t move. I think we were getting ready to go somewhere and I took this quick shot from my room.  Such an incredible time…”

Bus used by MIchael Jackson during his BAD concert our (Photo by Nate Giorgio, 1988)

To find more information about Nate Giorgio, and to see more of his work:

  • Interview at MJJ-777  which has an in-depth discussion with Nate Giorgio about his artwork and experience working with Michael Jackson: 


DanseTrack : 

  • “Coming up, the Bay Area Flash Mob of San Francisco (previously featured here), will perform Remember The Time and BAD for Michael Jackson’s birthday celebration on Saturday, August 25, 2012.  What words of encouragement would you offer this fantastic performance group?”

Nate Giorgio: 

  • “To the Bay Area Flash Mob — Just to be great, original, and make it the best! — Even better than anything you’ve done before! This is what Michael would say all the time. And then, he would add: “Never Tire Out!”


  • Thank you, Nate, for your beautiful work and for sharing your time and thoughts with us!”

Julien Rey and Ruby Anderson of the Bay Area Flash Mob

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, it is not too late to sign up to perform with the Bay Area Flash Mob!  

See our earlier feature on the San Francisco Bay Area Flash Mob: Bay Area Flash Mob at DanseTrack

Next up, they will perform Lady Gaga and Party Rock by LMFAO for San Francisco Sunday Streets on August 5, 2012 and Remember The Time, BAD and Party Rock for the celebration of Michael Jackson’s birthday on Saturday, August 25, 2012.  Links to their website and Facebook event pages are provided below:

SF Bay Area Flash Mob: Michael/Janet Jackson Tribute at the DNA Lounge (February 17, 2012) 


With featured dancers: Emiko Oye, Leah Ferrer, Carol Johnstone, Lisa Newin, Julien Rey, Christopher Lee, Andrea DeLeon, Marcia Nisam, Jacqui Magee, Emerson Tung, Vaas and Srini Krishnamurty, David Matablan, Karen Kalinske, Ashley Wehrman, Karen Fontana, Nagisa Sakuma, Anjuli Fiedler, and Jennifer Arbuckle!

For related feature see DanseTrack’s: Yes, We Also Love the Ballet, But First Let’s Give It UP For MJ!!  
Related page: Photography and Other Visual Art

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6 Responses to Nate Giorgio: Artist and Friend of Michael Jackson

  1. July 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Thank you to Nate Giorgio, for the use of his beautiful artwork and photos, and for sharing his time and thoughts with us!
    Bay Area Flash Mob, keep up the great work! Can’t wait to see your next shows!

  2. July 23, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Great article – nice to learn more about MJ’s personal artist.

  3. Mina
    April 5, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Dear Nate , i think it’s a suitable title to say that you’re a great artist and even one of Michael’s friend .thank you for your beautiful artwork!!!! You’re great at your work! I wish u more success!

    • April 5, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      You’re right, Mina! A “Great Artist” is a more accurate description for Nate Giorgio.

  4. May 3, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    we love you michael , you’re the best , i love your song
    Auvairniton bourgrire

    Hello, I thought your post was great.