“I’m attracted to people – all people of all colors and backgrounds.” So says Mike Desatnick, whose work ranges from subdued to vibrant. A native of Hammond, Indiana, Desatnick grew up in a housing project and started his career as a steelworker and sheared steel until his draft into the Vietnam War in the mid-60s. His interest in art started in his childhood, but it was not until 1967 that he had the opportunity to attend the American Academy of Art in Chicago, taking advantage of the GI Bill. Desatnick later returned to the American Academy of Art to teach. He now lives in Durango, Colorado with his wife, Dyan.
Desatnick’s subject matter is mostly Native American Indians and their traditional ceremonies. Holding up a portrait of an Indian youth in ceremonial garb, he says, “Such pride, such dignity. I’m always moved by Native Americans and their ceremonies. Could you guess that ten minutes prior to this, he was standing around in jeans, Reeboks and shades?”
Twice a finalist in the prestigious John F. and Anna Lee Stacey Scholarship Fund, Mike Desatnick has exhibited at the Allied Artists Show in New York, and the Indianapolis Hoosier Salon, where he was awarded first place in the figures and portraits. In 1983 and again in 2002, he participated in the Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage show. Desatnick’s stature among his peers and art critics is demonstrated by his selection to show several of his paintings in “The China Experience,” a Western Art exhibit that traveled to Peking, China in 1981. One of his paintings, of dancing Pueblo children, was selected as an official poster for the China Exhibition.
Of his work and his style, Desatnick says that “I’m not a storyteller like some painters. Sometimes just the gesture alone appeals to me so much that I have to paint it – that I want to say, ‘This is what I see, how I interpret it, and I want to share it with you…I create paintings that I would like to own.”
Reference: AskArt.com, Southwest Art magazine