Santa's Looking For His Hat

Midland Musician, Illustrator, and Writer Mike McMath Creates a Charming New Christmas Tale for the Entire Family

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Book Reviews, Culture, Community Profiles, Fiction,   From Issue 937   By: Robert E Martin

03rd November, 2022     0

Mike McMath is one of those rare multi-talented artists who is as comfortable and engaging holding a microphone in his hand as he is a paintbrush. 23-years ago along with his brother Scott, Mike formed the undeniably entertaining 4-piece musical group  known as Empty Pockets, releasing original material that was crunchy, melodic and strong enough to earn them performances a clubs & festivals throughout the regional circuit. 

With the added bonus of being a gifted painter known mainly for his detailed and distinct acrylic works, 13-years later the group morphed into Empty Canvas - an innovative hybrid combining music & visual art where McMath would involve the audience in the creation of an original painting during the duration of their performance - never missing a beat, or a stroke during the entire evening.

Three years ago Mike branched even further with his talents by creating a body of work employing the mediums of encaustic painting & Venetian plaster, which earned him a one-man exhibition at the Saginaw Art Museum.

So armed with a commitment to quality and craft in both the visual & musical realms of the artworld, Mike’s  latest artistic offering once again enters the realm of the experimental with a brand new Children’s  Christmas Book he has created titled Santa’s Looking For His Hat, a charming and innovative excursion spanning 36-pages and containing sixteen original illustrations.

As Mike explains the origins of this special project, it all started in grade school when his daughter Alexandria wrote a short story for a Christmas assignment titled Santa Can’t Find His Hat.  “It came complete with rudimentary illustrations, letters that were backwards and words only a loving mother could decipher,” he laughs.

“I thought it was such a clever idea that it would make a great Christmas song, so I played with the lyrics on and off for eight years and finally got into the studio to record it with Andy Reed and Donny Brown,” he continues. “It also features my brother, Mike Robertson, Brad Graham and myself.”

“It told such a cool story and I thought it was insightful for a kid her age,” reflects Mike. “That was released last year, but my passion for this project didn’t stop. I felt the lyrics were meant to be a Christmas book that would be read to children every holiday season, so for the past two years I’ve been creating these 18 x 24 canvas paintings illustrating the book.”

“I love Christmas anyway, as does the whole band, so it was a lot of fun doing these paintings,” notes Mike. “I got very inspired when approaching this because I’m more of an artist and not an illustrator, so I had to figure out how to best approach each painting. My wife told me to just do what I do and everything would fall together, so I ended up creating sixteen illustrations for the book.”

“We created a great website featuring merchandise, the song, interactive games and more at, so people can scan QR codes and listen to the song while also reading an E-Version of the book and flip pages.”

Self-publishing the book out of Maryland, people can also order hardcopy physical print editions that will be available for Thanksgiving, and also obtain soft cover copies on Amazon and most of the book publishing companies.

The cost for the hardcopy editions is only $19.99  and online softcover versions are available for only $15.99 - making great stock stuffers for the holidays!  

Mike will also be doing two book-signings at the DouMel Tree Farm, Midland,  Nov 27 noon-4pm, and at Serendipity Road, Midland on Dec 3.

“I think it turned out really well,” Mike remarks. “It’s printed on parchment stock and the story is more upbeat - more like a rock song.  The design I went with for most of the illustrations is that old retro-Coca-Cola classic style. Kids love it.”

When asked what the most challenging factor involved with bringing this magical project together, Mike references being ignorant to the process, noting: “It was still a creative endeavor so the biggest challenge was figuring it all out.”

“At this point in my life I’m doing the things I think I should be doing.”









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