I was born and raised in Montana. I did all the cowboy things but always wore a baseball cap and hiking boots. I was really more of an outdoorsman. I Fly Fished all the famous rivers and camped in the great mountain places. I was a talented art student and so I combined ability with experience and became a natural illustrator.
The world of art has changed rapidly like everything, and so has my work.
As it is with many long-time artists, I have developed my conventional ability into a unique style that is original to my own vision.
But... as you can tell by looking at the work... I am still experimenting. I have given myself some boundaries. I will always adhere to the proven elements of design, and I will paint positive themes. (Positive themes coming from someone with Irish heritage might seems slightly ironic.) I build or finish most of my frames. And I leave them perfectly imperfect, so the human element is not lost.
The Photo Bio page and the Recently Sold page above are a quick way to see who I am artistically, and my YouTube Channel is Michael Mahoney Art.
Artist Biography and Western Roots
Francis J. Mahoney ventured west to Denver CO as a stone carver in the 1880s. He helped build the old U.S. Mint and the Cathedral on Colfax in downtown Denver CO. He was Michael's Great, Great Grandfather.
On the other side of Michael's family, his Great Grandfather, Bill Ryan was a friend of Buffalo Bill Cody, and Michael's Grandfather, W. J. (Jack) Ryan, is in the Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame.
Michael's parents moved from Wyoming to Montana where he was born in 1959. He grew up fishing, hiking and painting in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness North of Yellowstone Park.
Michael's love for art combined with experience in the wilds of Montana and led him to work for many years as a natural illustrator. He created hundreds of complex wildlife and habitat paintings for clients like; the U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, Montana Fish and Game, and many others. Outdoor writer Jim Merritt wrote an unsolicited, feature article about Michael's work for 'Field & Stream' magazine entitled 'The Masters Hand'. Michael painted on TV for an ESPN fishing program and his work was editorialized in virtually every fly-fishing periodical. Currently Michael paints for galleries and private commissions. Michael's knowledge of iconic figures enables him to paint with intuitive spontaneity.
As is the case with many artists who have had long careers, Michael has evolved from doing detail work to the expressionist paintings he creates today. Every painting is a cooperation between his emotional experiences, and the skill to follow a natural direction in the paint. Over time he has experienced the unexplainable realities which give art the ability to pull at our hearts.