As a young man in Moscow, Mikhael Izrael was interested in art and sculpture, but he became a scientist, earning a doctorate in physics and chemistry.
“You could not make a living” as an artist, he says. “It was a hobby.”
As an immigrant here three decades ago, he changed his name to Michael and decided to follow his dream.
He taught himself to become a silversmith, and has made his living at that ever since. “My family supported me,” he says.
Working out of a studio in Long Island City, Queens, he fashions creations that range from menorahs, inset, and visions of Jerusalem, below, to punch bowls for battleships and awards trophies for the Preakness thoroughbred race.
Izrael’s firm is named Galmer Silversmiths, the name a rough combination of Galena, his wife, and of Michael.
He works with “only silver, and a little bit bronze,” he says. “I love the metal.”