Shamans, healers, brave warriors and earth mothers: these are the focus and purpose of painting for Mike Larsen. His painterly style is very expressive and the attire of his subjects is always historically accurate. Larsen's paintings achieve his intent of conveying emotion, invoking feeling, and creating hope. Mike embarked on his painting career at the age of 19 with landscapes, but the creation of these distant views has long since given way to the exploration of powerful figures with distinctive and mythical messages for men and women of all races.
Larsen was born in Dallas, Texas of a Chickasaw father and Anglo mother in 1944. He grew up on the plains of Oklahoma and Texas, with his mother and stepfather and began painting in earnest at Amarillo Junior College. He studied art at the University of Houston and completed his formal studies at the Art Students League in New York City.
Mike’s love for painting and sculpting dancing figures began when he was commissioned by the State of Oklahoma to paint a 26 foot long mural for the Capitol Rotunda of five internationally prominent ballet dancers, all born in the state. He has been honored to paint eight murals - four about teaching the arts and four about local Native American History - for the Oklahoma Art Institute and six murals for the University of Oklahoma Reynolds Performing Art Center and School of Dance.
In 2008, Mike completed the two year project of eight murals for the Pokagon Band Potowatomi Tribe in Michigan. He has completed the Chickasaw Nation's Living Elders project - 48 portraits of Elders of the Nation. He recently completed a public commission for a twice life sized sculpture for St. Joseph's Regional Health Center in Patterson, NJ, and is preparing to work on a project on the Civil War in Oklahoma.
In the Fall of 2012 Mike completed "The Arrival" for the Chickasaw Cultural Center. It is a twice life bronze representing the new start of the Chickasaw Nation after removal from the Homeland.
Larsen's oils, watercolors and pastels can be seen in museums and private collections throughout the United States.