05 Aug Mikel Covey
Mikel Covey, brilliant photographic artist passed away at home on July 24, 2019. He was 75.
John Michael Covey (Mikel) was born in Ogden, Utah to Dixie Scowcroft Covey and Harold Allen Covey. His sister Carol (Caroline) Covey preceeded him in death. He leaves behind his beloved wife of 35 years Traci O’Very Covey, his brother Allen Covey, and numerous family members and dear friends. He will be missed and loved always.
Mikel grew up an artistically gifted child in Salt Lake City. His interest in photography and film-making led him to study briefly at the University of Utah before launching into a creative career that would span the rest of his life.
Mikel began as a lightshow artist for rock concerts in the 1960’s at the Old Mill, Terrace Ballroom, and other venues in Salt Lake City and then for Bill Graham at the Fillmore in San Francisco for rock bands such as Santana, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Canned Heat, Led Zepplin, Steve Miller Band, Steppenwolf, Ottis Redding, Jefferson Airplane, and the Grateful Dead, among others. He shot film footage which he altered and combined in unique ways that were not only beautifully creative but ahead of their time conceptually. Mikel produced album covers and posters for the rock band The Tubes, for Boz Scaggs, and others.
He then began a career as an advertising and fashion photographer in San Francisco and Los Angeles before moving to Salt Lake City in the 1980s. Mikel and his wife, artist and designer Traci O’Very Covey, became partners in O’Very/Covey, a creative firm with both local and national clients. He and Traci were also the founding Creative Directors of Utah Homes & Garden magazine. Some of his clients through the years have been Rolling Stone, Macy’s, San Francisco Magazine, Dole, Max Factor, Gallo Wines, Architectural Digest, Ballet West, Intel, Novell and WordPerfect.
Mikel was an early adopter of digital techniques and his work evolved into stunningly elaborate photographic illustrations. In 1995, he was named one of the top twenty photographers in the country working in digital media by New York’s Photo District News and several of his images were chosen for the First New York Society of Illustrators Digital Salon. His work received a gold Ozzie Award in New York in 2003 for a series of garden photographs in an article published in Utah Homes & Garden.
His love of nature fueled the creation of his fine art photography of abstracted botanicals. These gorgeous multi-photo digital creations of tumbleweeds, grasses, wildflowers, and other flora “have the effect of both symbolizing and laying bare the essential integrity and beauty of each subject.” He found pleasure both in the wild and in the studio creating his art.
His passion for cooking was another creative outlet he enjoyed. Mikel was an excellent cook who loved to entertain. His delicious meals were a generous gift to his guests at dinner parties, gourmet picnics in the canyons, and large gatherings at his and Traci’s beautiful circa 1914 Arts & Crafts home.
Mikel’s extraordinary talent, kind heart, sparkling wit, and elegant grace will be missed by all who knew him.
A celebration of Mikel’s life will be held on Thursday, August 15th from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Modern West Fine Art, 412 South 700 West in Salt Lake City.
Donations can be made in his name to Ballet West.