Michael Allan Chelich: A Legacy of Artistic Excellence

The great masters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods of art inspired Michael Allan Chelich, a native of Indiana.

He began his studies at the American Academy of Art (1982) in Chicago, where, in anticipation of entering the school, he competed for and won three tuition scholarships awarded by the American Academy of Art, the Northern Indiana Art Association, and the Indiana Federation of Women’s Clubs. In his second year at the Academy, Chelich won another scholarship contest sponsored by the Union League Club of Chicago.

Mike’s life-drawing teacher, Fred Berger, significantly influenced him during these formative years in Chicago.

Berger stressed to Mike the creative and compositional aspects of art and the importance of mastering the knowledge of artistic anatomy and perspective.

After two years in Chicago, Mike left for Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he attended Atelier Lack, a school dedicated to reviving excellence in craftsmanship for realistic drawing and painting.

At Atelier Lack, Mike’s artistic style was refined through four years of intensive study and practice in classical drawing and painting methods. This training has its roots in the classical and impressionistic schools of 18th-century France, stretching back in an unbroken lineage to the Neo-classical painter Jacques-Louis David.

The founder of the school, Richard Lack, nurtured and refined Mike’s talents through diligent and personalized instruction. Mike continues this tradition and aims to help it grow with the additional knowledge gained from his studies, trials, and experiences.

Mike Chelich resides in northwest Indiana, where he has been creating art for the last thirty years.

Most recently, Mike painted the former chief Supreme Court Justice of Indiana, Brent Dickson, whose portrait painting hangs at the Indiana State Capitol.

Mike is interested in various subjects, including narrative figurative artwork, portraiture, landscape, and still life. He has distinguished himself in portraiture by receiving several essential portrait commissions, including governmental and professional figures in Indiana and Chicago. Among them are: Evan Bayh, former Governor of Indiana; Phil C Neal, retired Dean of the University of Chicago Law School; Dr. Frank Lloyd, former President of the Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis; the late Dr. Thaddeus P. Kawalek, retired President of the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine; Judge Thieme, former Superior Judge of the Criminal Court in Fort Wayne, Indiana; Dr. Leo J. Shapiro, founder of the LJS Group; Senator Richard Lugar, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee; the late Governor of Indiana, Frank O’Bannon; and Dr. Steven C. Beering, former President of Purdue University and Chairman of the National Science Foundation in Washington DC, former Purdue Northwest Chancellor Howard Cohen, and former Purdue North Central Chancellor James Dworkin.

Mike’s goal is to continue producing figurative art similar in drama and design to the Old Masters but with themes drawn from contemporary culture.

Besides the portrait commissions, Mike is passionate about creating narrative and allegorical figure compositions. He has always been interested in communicating ideas through art, coinciding with a fascination for the dramatic figurative paintings of artists from the Renaissance and Baroque periods in Western art.

Mike states, “Creative Figure Composition challenges me at every level of my abilities and allows for a fulfilling expression of feelings and ideas inspired by particular themes of humanity and our relationship to our kind and the world at large.”

To further his knowledge of figurative painting, Mike visited Western Europe’s churches, castles, and museums to study the artwork of the old European Masters.

Mike received an award of merit in the first international art salon sponsored by the Art Renewal Center.

Mike’s work has been featured in three one-person shows: the Northern Indiana Arts Association in Munster, Indiana; the Gallery of Art at the College of Lake County, Gray’s Lake, Illinois; and the Newington Cropsey Foundation in Hastings, New York.

Mike won a merit prize in a Portrait Society of America-sponsored international portrait competition and twice won the Gold Medal Award for Best of Show at the Hudson Valley Art Association in Hastings, New York.

The Indiana Historical Museum in Indianapolis purchased his painting, Of God, Humanity, and Creation, as part of their permanent collection.

Mike’s work has been published in several nationally recognized art journals as well.

Some journals include: American Artist, Color for the Oil Painter (an American Artist annual publication), The Artists Magazine, Journal of Classical Realism, Workshops (an American Artist publication), and American Arts Quarterly. Mike was also featured in Harry Porterfield’s TV show “Someone You Should Know.”

Mike states, “My interest in art has always been to realistically portray on canvas those subjects for which I have had an intense interest. Whether it is a figurative composition, portrait, still life, or landscape painting, I seek to capture the wonder and beauty of nature’s colors, textures, and forms and weave them together within the patterns and rhythms of art so their beauty may be enhanced or potential meaning be thoughtfully conceived and expressed through the voice of visual narrative.”