Michael Allan Chelich is a native Indiana resident inspired by the great masters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods of art. 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 an additional scholarship contest sponsored by the Union League Club of Chicago. During these formative years in Chicago, Mike was heavily influenced by his life-drawing teacher Fred Berger. Berger stressed to Mike the creative and compositional aspects of art as well as 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 the revival of 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 the classical methods of drawing and painting. 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 in this tradition and aims to help it grow with the additional accumulated knowledge gained from his own studies, trials and experiences.
Mike Chelich resides in northwest Indiana where, for the last thirty years, he has been been creating art. Mike has an interest in a variety of subject matter including narrative figurative artwork, portraiture, landscape, and still life. He has distinguished himself in the field of portraiture by having received several important 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 L.J.S. 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. Most recently, Mike painted the former chief Supreme Court Justice of Indiana, Brent Dickson whose portrait painting hangs at the Indiana State Capitol.
Apart from the portrait commissions, Mike has a great passion for the creation of narrative and allegorical figure compositions. He has always had in interest in the communication of ideas through art coinciding with a fascination for the dramatic figurative paintings of artists from the Renaissance and Baroque periods in Western art. Mike’s goal is to continue to produce figurative art similar in drama and design to that of the Old Masters but with themes drawn from contemporary culture. 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 own kind and the world at large.” To further his knowledge of figurative painting, Mike visited the churches, castles and museums of Western Europe to study the artwork of the old European Masters.
Mike’s work has been featured in three one-man shows at: 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. The artist also received a merit award for an international portrait competition sponsored by the Portrait Society of America, and was twice awarded the Gold Medal Award for Best of Show at the Hudson Valley Art Association in Hastings, New York. In addition, Mike received an award of merit in the first international Art Salon sponsored by the Art Renewal Center. His painting entitled Of God, Humanity and Creation was purchased by the Indiana Historical Museum in Indianapolis as part of their permanent collection.
Mike’s work has been published in several nationally recognized art journals including 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 T.V. 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.”