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The Art of Visualizing Black & White

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Artist Bio

Well if you really want to know...

Born February 2, 1951 - Manhattan, NY

Within a few months after I came into this world my family moved to a 300 acre farm in upstate New York. Nothing better could of ever happened to my childhood. I will be eternally grateful to my Dad for wanting to make that move. I explored every nook and cranny of the forest and could actually sit so still animals could come right up to me and not even know I was there, until I started laughing.

My formal art education did not begin until I was 16. Unfortunately being brought up in the country, institutions for art training did not exist. So I had to improvise and use the margins and back pages of my notebooks for my personal art lessons and practice. More then once I was told, that artwork should not be done unless I was completely finished with class work. Where in actuality I would make sure the art was done before the class work would even get started. Most of the teachers did not favor my attitude but you have to categorize your priorities for stress relief.

From 1967 to 1970 I had two years of architectural and mechanical drawing and one year of geometrical and technical design. I still used that knowledge as I occasionally designed and made furniture as a diversion from the artwork.

From 1971 to 1976 I moved to the Schenectady area and studied various forms of linear design, three dimensional design, light and shade, composition and other aspects of fine art. I took all the art curriculum at the local community college except for history of art. I did scan the book in the college bookstore and came up with my own opinion that it was too opinionated. Thinking that art is doing not criticizing. And who really knows what is in the mind of an artist. Especially dead artists.

I also took professional lessons at this time and studied a lot of live models. This was the time when I experimented with various media, such as oils, acrylics, pastels, watercolor, pen and ink, and pencil.

I had a few shows in the area and approached some galleries and small museums

In 1976 I got the itch to move to Arizona as I continued with art shows. I traveled through the southwest and still occasionally approached galleries. I had several paintings reproduced by lithography companies for posters and lithographs for national distribution.

In 1977 I was asked to do a series of furniture illustrations for a company's brochure. Then the print shop that was going to do the brochure printing asked me to do the layout of the brochure as well. That one job sparked 35 years of freelancing as a commercial artist. This in turn gave me the time and freedom to do and refine my own style of fine art painting. As time went on the two interests merged and brought many illustration jobs to my studio.

In 1978 I was inspired to do a painting (which I titled "The Illusion of Susan"). It was my first piece that I did with a spontaneous visualizing wash technique. It took almost five years of using this style to get to the point where I was satisfied with the technique and with the visualizing proceedure. At that time I started to produce paintings for the future book, "The Perceptions of Michael Csontos". The painting "The Reflection" was the first painting I did with the conscious effort of creating paintings for the book. 

After I had enough paintings to satisfactorily fill the book with images that I felt had merit (which took almost 30 years) I decided to write another book and publish it first, (The Art of Visualizing Black & White) which explains how I see the images that develop in my work

In that 30 year period I previously mentioned I also did numerous other styles (and hundreds of paintings) which helped me develop and appreciate the style I use today. Professional lessons and schooling is all fine and good but I feel there is no substitute for constant practice, experimentation and experience.

From March 2012 to October 2014, I worked on book number three, which is 'Perceptions II'. It is composed of 50 paintings and 87 black and white images.

From November 2014 to May 2015 I worked on book number four, which is 'Perceptions III'. It is composed of entirely black and white images of a spontaneous visualizing nature with two chapters of exceptions, and that is some life drawings and book illustrations. The primary purpose of this book was just to show the variety of ideas that can come from spontaneous abstract sketches. My goal was to have at least 200 images.

After Perceptions III was published I returned to doing visionary/surreal/fantasy paintings for galleries and reproductions. They are all 24" x 36". You can view the new paintings and others at a larger size at the gallery review page.

Michael Csontos