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About Mike Chambers

Painter, Printmaker, Intrepid Explorer

I’m known for my subtly narrative paintings of solitary figures and my haunting and colorful interiors. 

At the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts my teachers provided encouragement and high expectations. A highlight of my early training was working in the studio of New Orleans artist Emery Clark. After a fellowship at Yale Norfolk School of Art, I earned art degrees at Louisiana State University, Purdue University and Queens College.  My work has been exhibited in Indiana, New York, Virginia, Idaho and Louisiana. I’m proud to say that my work is represented by the Carol Robinson Gallery in New Orleans, Louisiana.

My wife Melissa “Sasi” Chambers and I banded together with a group of local Boise artists to form the Treasure Valley Artists Alliance, a non-profit with a mission to serve local artists. My involvement in TVAA provided opportunities to collaborate with other artists and to raise awareness of the local art scene, and in 2013 I was instrumental in  TVAA’s award of a grant to produce the Local Color exhibition and catalog commemorating Boise’s Sesquicentennial Celebration.

My paintings have been the subject of numerous solo shows in New Orleans and Boise, including most recently the Character Development exhibition at Boise State University’s Trueblood pop-up gallery in 2021, the Ghost Hunting exhibition at Evermore Prints in Boise in 2017, and Houseghosts at the Carol Robinson Gallery in New Orleans in 2016, Louisiana. The City of Boise commissioned me to create an image for a traffic control box in 2017 — you can see it at the corner of Main and 23rd Streets. I was honored to receive grants in 2020 and 2021 from the Alexa Rose Foundation and the Idaho Commission on the Arts.

Here’s the Truth

My paintings and drawings are the result of a wrestling match between what I want and what the image wants. Yes, I’ve discovered that the image has its own voice and I often struggle to hear it. During this process I rework, erase, and even turn everything upside down to correct things, repaint, and retry. The lines and layers of the final image give it a history.

If you look hard, you’ll see evidence where an eyebrow moved down on a face or a window in an interior faintly appears behind what’s now a blank wall, or where a shadow behind an figure looks a lot like it might’ve once been an angel’s wing. This process gives the picture a kind of Past Life that makes it more interesting. If you want to know the truth, this is how I play.