Born in Massachusetts and raised as an "Air Force brat," Chuck delighted in his family’s cross-country trips to his dad's new duty stations, especially stops at cafes, gas stations, souvenir shops, and motels. Inspired by TV and movie Westerns, he also organized the cowboy and Indian games for all the local kids. But aside from doing doodles to amuse those kids in class, he didn't show any signs of art talent. As a teenager, Chuck played guitar in a garage band, listened to rock and roll music, survived high school, and then joined the Navy.
Four years later, he headed home to Austin, Texas, where his parents had retired. Attending drafting school let him explore his drawing abilities, and a part time job led to his marriage to Carol. After graduation, they moved to Colorado to pursue careers and explore the mountains. Then a road trip to Yellowstone spurred ongoing investigations of the USA, especially the West.
After a few years as a draftsman in Denver, he attended Metropolitan State University and discovered art. He earned a fine art degree then opted for more schooling at the Colorado Institute of Art. On his way to graduating with honors in graphic design, he learned more about concept, design, and thinking outside the box. Jobs in the “real-world” meant four years as a commercial designer in Denver and Los Angeles, where he enjoyed applying design to fun ideas, but the rest of the business was not fun. So, he left to pursue a fine art career full time and began exploring media, subjects, and styles, and in 1992, he acquired gallery representation.
20" x 24" Watercolor and Acrylic on Paper, Mounted on Canvas $1,850
40" x 30" Mixed Media on Paper, Mounted on Canvas $3,550
Check out Southwest Art Magazine's recent article on Chuck Middlekauff. Click the button below.
All his earlier life interests and experiences prompted him to reproduce the details of cowboys, boots, and spurs, rusty windmills, gas pumps, pickups, Coke machines and signs, worn out toys, and weather-beaten murals, and even cartoon characters and Andy Warhol images, things that make him smile.
In his studio, Chuck cranks up Alan Jackson, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, John Mellencamp, among others, and paints away, putting things together that don't necessarily appear together (but they could) and adding touches of humor, nostalgia, and sometimes sentimentality. He calls the results, “fun, fun, fun!”