Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Brief Biography: Michael Liebhaber

Michael’s paintings and sculptures have been exhibited at the University of Arizona, Boehm Galley at Palomar College in San Marcos, CA, San Diego County Fair, Western Connecticut State University, Silo Gallery at Hunt Hill Farm Trust in New Milford, CT, Artists and Friends Invitational in Newtown, CT, and Prince Street Gallery in New York.
His work was featured in The Litchfield County Times Monthly in New Milford, CT and his haunting three-dimensional portrait of Osama bin Laden was used on the cover of The Telescope Weekly in San Marcos, CA to illustrate their review of the 2002 Student Show at Palomar College. His cut and welded steel sculpture, Ripple, won second place in abstract sculpture at the 2003 Exhibition of Art at the San Diego County Fair. Michael has also designed magazine and books covers, advertisements, brochures, and logos, and has illustrated all types of print media. He has designed and coded websites and has taught website design.
Michael grew up in the wild, wild, west of the USA. He spent most of his formative years in the desert around Tucson, Arizona walking with coyotes, chasing snakes, scorpions, and rabbits, crawling into abandoned mines looking for treasure, and hanging with the occasional old time cowboy. Really, he did. Those experiences gave him his love and inquisitiveness about nature, places, and people.
Since then he has lived in every part of the United States, traveled to many parts of the world, and painted in some interesting places. Despite his misspent youth, he has received many academic degrees (PhD in Child Language and MFA in Painting among others). He programmed computers (when computers were new), was a MacArthur Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, taught at various colleges, and spent a number of years researching and designing some pretty sophisticated computer information systems.
He has recently taken time to travel and focus on his artwork. He traveled the world with Celebrity Cruises as a manager of shipboard internet cafes. It was during that time that he began his Travel Watercolor Series.

A Brief Biography: Sheila Thornton

Sheila Thornton is an artist living in Los Angeles, CA. She earned her BFA in industrial design at the Columbus College of Art and Design in 2000. Since then, she has spent half of the last 9 years traveling in various parts of Europe, Africa, North and Central America, and Asia, always with a sketchbook or paint set at hand.

A Brief Biography: Tom Laukkanen

Tom Laukkanen has been pursuing his art his entire life, and in the last decade he has traveled through a wide swath of the United States with paint supplies stowed in easy reach. He has painted in the Southwestern States of Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona; in Ohio, New York, and Ontario, Canada; along the Missouri River in Montana; prairies in South Dakota; and an array of landscapes and climates in his home state of Minneosta. Tom frequently paints portraits of individuals interwoven into his life.

A Brief Biography: Kathryn Stedham

Kathryn Stedham began nearly two decades ago exhibiting her work in the eastern United States. Since that time she has traveled extensively throughout the Orient: to Japan, South Korea, and China; to Cambodia and Thailand, where she was witness to the 2004 Asian Tsunami while painting along Tonsai Beach. Her paintings and monoprints have been displayed publicly and privately in the United States, Canada, and Japan.

Kathryn is currently the Executive Director at Spiro Arts in Park City, Utah. She helped build, both literally and more abstractly, the fledgling program from a century-old mining camp to a "state-of-the-art" residency for visual artists and writers. In the light of achievement, Kathryn humbly concedes the inclusiveness an "Executive Director" encompasses, which includes "office manager, pencil-sharpener, chauffeur, [and] maid." In 2008, the program provided seven artists residency to pursue their work.

A Brief Biography: Michael Kluckner

Michael Kluckner is a Canadian writer and artist living in Katoomba, Australia. He has written a cycle of books over the course of 20 years detailing Vancouver and Canadian history, heritage, and culture. In 2007 he uprooted and began painting and chronicling a new landscape in Australia. He works in an array of different styles: Oils, watercolors, pencil sketches, woodcuts, and of course written word.

Michael began travel painting in a tour of Southern Europe and the Mediterranean in the winter of '92 - '93. Since then he has toured through Canada, the Pacific Coast States in the USA, Tasmania, Guadalajara, Turkey, Greece, Crete, and Germany with his paints and sketchbooks. He has an inordinary penchant for Volkswagen autos when traveling but makes ample use of his time walking and hiking the landscapes he records.

A Brief Biography: Gregg Fretheim

In 1985 I began my journey as a travel painter. By putting my gear in the car and going to South Dakota, the first step began. In 1988 I set out on a trip to paint the world beyond the United States. I did not know how long the traveling would last. If it was to be a week, a month, or a year, I did not know. I did know if I did not begin this journey, test myself as a painter and an artist, and face the unknown world in which I live, I would live in chronic regret of not doing it or at least attempting it. My fears of traveling alone were little when confronted with that other fear of not traveling, not seeing, and not experiencing the world’s unspeakable brilliance.

My first foreign destination was England. Over a year later, and after at least 25000 miles, I returned to the States. After the gales of Wellington, the Newcastle earthquake in eastern Australia, 120 F heat and three day storms full of bulldust in the Outback, the jungles of the Malay, Thailand’s Songkran water festival, and strolls through Venice, Munich, and Paris, an English Bitter in a Birmingham pub never tasted so good. I had become a traveler. This began my goal to paint the natural landscapes and people of each continent, save Antarctica (although I resign nothing to impossibility). I focus on whatever impacts me and infix this force into my work. Since my first trip, I’ve painted further in Asia: the Philippines, Bali, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma, and Hong Kong’s Lantau Island; Central America: Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica; and South America: Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. I’ve spent roughly two decades painting Asia and Central and South America. I hope another decade each will be spent in Africa, Central Asia, and a final tour of North America. I continued to work in North America through the 90's and have made numerous sketches throughout my travels.

My vision is to create a whole and unified collection of my artwork representing the entire world. Each piece is a part of the whole, and while complete in itself, is part of a greater scheme. I do not sell my paintings for this reason. The collection must be kept together otherwise my vision of the world and its validation, through my artwork, will be lost.

I do not reproduce my works in any alternate form whatsoever. They should be seen as they were first created. I realize mine is not the only way. Nor is mine necessarily the right way. What is important is that my art represent my experience and vision as truly and essentially as possible. I never try to embellish my work or make it a feel good illusion.
I hope this can become a place where other travel painters, travelers, artists, and those who explore all quarters of life, can exchange stories, information, advice, and encouragement to others who are journeying down similar paths. I know it’s a hard and difficult path. There’s constant struggle along the way. But every step forward is an achievement, and what a grand journey it’s been.
My next destination is Africa. Of particular interest to me are the animals of the Serengeti, the Nile, and Hemingway’s plane crash near Murchison Falls. I also believe General Patton said something like, "All plans go out the window when feet hit the ground." I would have it no other way.
Gregg Fretheim currently resides in Bloomington, MN, USA.