My bio

Greenwood Park, Winter, Private Collection, Boston

“The viewer participates by adding his or her own experience and memory to complete the painting or drawing.”

– Mickey Carlson

Art is a unique human activity, truly a shared phenomenon.

I use pencil, brush, paint and pastels to interpret my subject to the best of my ability. Then each viewer brings his or her imagination, memories, and life experience to the process of looking at it.

Born in Chicago, I am currently based in Des Moines. My formal education consisted of a B.A. and B.F.A. from Mundelein College of Loyola University in Chicago, followed by an M.B.A. from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. from Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, OH.

Along the way were drawing and painting classes at the Art Center of Des Moines, IA, and portrait studies with Mary Muller, also in Des Moines. I have also enjoyed workshops and classes with other renown artists such as internationally known pastel master Richard McKinley, Milton Glaser in New York, and Renaissance expert Rob Liberace in Washington, DC.

Many artists working today, and those from art history have influenced me. A short list would include Michelangelo, DaVinci, Tintoretto, Sorolla, Rosa Bonheur, Zorn, John Singer Sargent, Richard Schmid, Alice Neely, and others.

Less formal studies at Provincetown with John Clayton at Egli Studios, Mary Giamarino, and Cynthia Packard have added color, depth and a stronger sense of abstraction to my more recent efforts.

My work is in private collections in New York, Boston, Richmond, Chicago, Seattle, Sacramento and Des Moines. Please contact me for information on the sale of a particular piece or a commission. PayPal accepted.

Mainframe Studios
900 Keosaqua Way
Des Moines, IA 50309


© All work on the pages of this website is copyrighted as of March 26, 2021 and may not be used without written permission of Mickey Carlson.

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