From a press release:
Michael White one man show at Tryon Painters and Sculptors Gallery
Opening Friday, Jun 13, 5-8 p.m. at the Tryon Painters and Sculptors Gallery, 26 Maple St., Tryon, NC. Show ends on July 12.
Born April 1964, Michael James White took to drawing by age 2. By age 6 when anyone asked “what do you want to be when you grow up” he’d smile and say “I want to be an artist”. With that said, he set forth to fulfill his goals. He was published in the Herald Tribune in Rock Hill SC by age 10 and regularly took multiple ribbons in county fair and local art shows. His evolution as an artist started with drawing cars and space ships then moved to Disney characters and then into animals from photographs. He also toyed with the art of the times copying 70’s pop culture styles and then would swing all the way around to trying to copy the Old Masters from Biblical paintings. Michael says “I was going to copy the whole Bible at one point, words, picture and all. I had no idea who the ‘Masters’ were I just thought the images I saw in my fathers large picture Bible were incredible. I wanted to make art like that.”
In grade school Michael discovered that his love for art breached all social barriers and gained him a comforting level of notoriety. It didn’t take him long to learn to play to his strengths by including art with his reports and volunteering to create art for the school and church. At age 14 Michael painted a mural of the Jordan River for a Baptismal pool at a local church. This caught the eye of the local newspaper who came out to conduct an interview and write an article about Michael’s work. The paper was so impressed with the youths talent and range that they hired him to draw Court Room Sketches for a camera restricted local trial that was about to begin. That ended up being the critical point in which Michael’s art work started to be taken serious by others.
For the next few years he enjoyed being hired to do all sorts of creative task but he knew he had a long way to go to be professional. With the goal of making this his career he took as many art classes as he could get. Classes in Public School, Trade School, local Parks and Recreation Programs and adult classes through scholarships from the Rock Hill Artists Guild. All the while staying busy with his own self directed projects like his original comic book series “The Cobra Strikes Back”. To say he was a well focused teen is an understatement. He says, “I always knew what I wanted. Trying to get it was the fun part. Challenges are what makes life worth living.”
At age 17 Michael could be found drawing Pastel Portraits at Carowinds Amusement Park on the SC/NC border. He fell in love with the medium and took what he learned with him to College that same Fall. For the next 3 years Michael thrived as a self motivated, over achieving student at the Ringling College of Art in Sarasota Florida. “I used pastels as often as I could. For figure, for portraits and class assignments too. But what I really fell in love with was how pastels so naturally melded with my sense and understanding for creating landscape paintings.”
Since graduating with awards and honors from the Ringling College of Art in 1985 Michael has just about done everything. Using skills he acquired as an Illustration Major He counts Amoco Oil, Tropicana, Delta Airlines, Marvel and DC Comics, Hyatt Hotel and The Atlantis Resort in the Bahama’s as some of his most noteworthy clients. He’s illustrated Children’s’ Books, Album Covers, Board Games, Menus, Theatrical Posters, Billboards, buses and more. Yet at the end of the day when it comes down to what Michael truly loves, it’s traveling, taking photographs then getting his hands dirty with Pastels trying to recapture the feeling of seeing the Grace of God in nature. The feeling of really really being there, being here, existing in awe.
Michael James White started his art journey young in Rock Hill South Carolina. He has had a varied yet successful career as a Commercial Artist, a Fine Artist and an Instructor. Accumulatively he has over 35 years of teaching experience. The last 22 of which have been with and for the Ringling College of Art in Sarasota Florida. Michael’s easy going, fun yet serious approach to teaching delivers an enjoyable and still educational experience to those who study with him. “I try to teach the way I wish I was taught. I want my students to have fun while they are polishing skills, discovering new paths, breaking through barriers and meeting their artistic goals.”