It was a privilege to go to his home and see all of the pieces he has created, its incredible. That is when you understand the reason he is world renown and I'm sure misunderstood by some. To create the way he does, he has to have a lot going on in his brain, because the artwork embodies mental visions that take special hands to bring those visions to actual life with distinctive attention paid to every part of every sculpture. He doesn't slack on his work, because his work is his passion. Chukes has pieces that will have you examining them for hours.
His work has appeared in many galleries around the world, from the Boribana Museum in Senegal, West Africa, to the Hearne Fine Art Gallery in Little Rock, Arkansas, to the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. His work has also been featured in Oprah Winfrey's, O Magazine. Collectors of his art include the likes of Archbishop Desmond Tutu; advertising mogul, Carol H. Williams; and actress, CCH Pounder.
Michael Chukes was born in Vallejo, but raised in San Jose during a time of cultural awareness in Northern California.
Chukes became interested in art at a very young age, as he watched his mother turn drawings into clothes as a family seamstress. The fact that she created something from nothing fascinated the young Chukes and that was when he realized that it was okay to be creative and express yourself in ways that may not be understood by some, but praised by others.
Chukes relies on music for his inspiration in creating his works by combining his visions with musical rhythms because it helps him to sculpt what he hears through creative influences like Earth, Wind and Fire, Miles Davis and George Clinton and the Funk Parliament. You can hear Parliament in the background during our recorded interview. He is a laid back dude who is focused and always thinking and he has created an incredible think-tank at his home where he can just relax and be as creative as he wants to be.
Chukes creates his works with over emphasis on certain body parts such as necks, hands and arms. He also incorporates color (a secret technique) which gives his sculptures a rich smooth texture and a surreal identity.
We asked Chukes if he was going to become more involved in the arts locally and he assured us that he would.