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.