Michael Schaeffer

Profile | Statement | Biography


Michael Schaeffer • Profile

 

Michael Schaeffer

Michael Schaeffer was born in Jackson, Michigan. Like many artists, he found joy and release in expressing himself creatively at an early age. In 1993, he attended the Royal College of Art in London and in 1995 he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Kendall College of  Art and Design.

Schaeffer is widely known for his renowned "Head" paintings. These precocious pieces depict a variety of characters wearing striking and engaging expressions. The emotional content of these mixed-media personalities is as complex a range as anything that can be found in the human condition. In Michael's own words, "these paintings reflect what we are, as they are penetrating images of the human psyche which suggest our own states of mind as manifested in our appearances."

In his abstract work, Schaeffer's inventive palette and fresh, unpredictable results are a testament to the discoveries made throughout his creative journeys. Large or small, figurative or abstract, each of his paintings play off each other and convey a sense of adventure and spontaneity. With emphasis on color, texture, and form, Schaeffer infuses intuitive and improvisational markings with order, balance, and harmony. Each finished painting is about the process of its creation, the manipulation of paint on any surface, and the relationships that form its composition.

Schaeffer's work is included in the collections of several prestigious museums and corporations as well as over 120 personal collections throughout the United States and Germany.


Michael Schaeffer • Statement

Creative expression for me is taking feeling and translating that into color, texture and form. These abstract paintings are a departure from my head paintings. However, they are similar in many ways. Instead of using the face (head) as my repeated subject, I have reduced the image down to what made the head paintings the strongest: color, texture and form. By using these three elements, I find that my current paintings are just as exciting to me as the head paintings.

When I paint, I have a compelling desire for organization, order, balance, and harmony within the whole painting for it to work. The biggest challenge for me is finding a problem within the painting whether it is thought about on a conscious or unconscious level. Then I work and rework the piece until it feels complete.

During the painting process, I can be extremely spontaneous and improvisational working with my intuition. But this step alone rarely produces a finished painting. It is when I finally step back from the work and look at it from an objective standpoint that I can make decisions on how to improve the image. Creating a balance between logic and feeling is essential to creating a successful work of art.


Michael Schaeffer • Biography

EDUCATION

1995
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Kendall College of Art & Design, Grand Rapids, Michigan

1993
Royal College of Art, London, England

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

2016
"sELECTED Works", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

"Toast", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

"Everyone in the Pool", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

"Collective Alchemy", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

2015
"Let's Get Started", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan

"Toast", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

"Everyone in The Pool", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, “Lookie Here”, Grand Rapids, Michigan

2014
LaFontsee Galleries, “Annual Fall Celebration”, Grand Rapids, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, "Modern Twist", Douglas, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, "Unusual Suspects”, Douglas, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, “Hop Skip & a Jump”, Douglas, Michigan

2013   
LaFontsee Galleries, “On Common Ground”, Grand Rapids, Michigan

2012   
LaFontsee Galleries, “25 Year Gala”, Grand Rapids, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, “LG-Group”, Douglas, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, “Color Context”, Douglas, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, “Power of Pattern”, Douglas, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, “Fresh Squeezed and Locally Grown”, Douglas, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, “Act II”, Douglas, Michigan

2011    
LaFontsee Galleries, “Come Out and Play”, Grand Rapids, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, “Fall at The Lakeshore”, Douglas, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, “Summer Fun”, Douglas, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, “Opening Celebration”, Douglas, Michigan

2005
Ambient Gallery, Grand Opening Exhibition, Grosse Pointe, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, "April Fools: Paintings or Prints?" Grand Rapids, Michigan

2004
LaFontsee Galleries, "UNADULTerated," Grand Rapids, Michigan

Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, "Live Coverage" Grand Rapids, Michigan

2003
LaFontsee Galleries, "Holiday Muse," Group Exhibition, Grand Rapids, Michigan

2002
LaFontsee Galleries, "Personal Possessions," Three-Person Exhibition, Grand Rapids, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, "LaFontsee Galleries' Fifteenth Anniversary Celebration," Group Exhibition, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Javitts Center, Art Expo, New York, New York

2001
LaFontsee Galleries, "Winter Presents…," Group Exhibition, Grand Rapids, Michigan 

LaFontsee Galleries, "No Boundaries," Grand Rapids, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, "Untitled," Solo Exhibition, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, "Live Coverage" Grand Rapids, Michigan

2000 LaFontsee Galleries, "Winter Presents…," Group Exhibition, Grand Rapids, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, "New Season, New Work, New Road," Grand Rapids, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, "Beyond Layers," Three-Person Exhibition, Grand Rapids, Michigan

1999 LaFontsee Galleries, "The Last Great Paintings of the 20th Century," Grand Rapids, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, "Object of My Affection," Grand Rapids, Michigan

Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, "Live Coverage," Grand Rapids, Michigan

1998 LaFontsee Galleries, "Winter Presents…," Group Exhibition, Grand Rapids, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, "Metamorphosis," Grand Rapids, Michigan

LaFontsee Galleries, "Observations (in color)," Three-Person Exhibition, Grand Rapids, Michigan

1997
LaFontsee Galleries, "Heads, Bodies, and Souls," Two-Person Exhibition, Grand Rapids, Michigan

1996 LaFontsee Galleries, Group Exhibition, Grand Rapids, Michigan

1995
Four Friends Coffee House, Solo Exhibition, Grand Rapids, Michigan

1994
Kendall College of Art & Design, "Anthropometry," Grand Rapids, Michigan

Kendall College of Art & Design, "574 Square Feet," Grand Rapids, Michigan

HONORS AND AWARDS

2001
Recent Graduate Achievement Award, Kendall College of Art & Design, Grand Rapids, Michigan

SELECTED COLLECTIONS

Andrew Beth Salons, Kalamazoo, Michigan
The B.O.B., Grand Rapids, Michigan
Conway Dierking & Hillman, Inc., Grand Rapids, Michigan 
Herman Miller, Inc., Zeeland, Michigan
Steelcase, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; St. Louis, Missouri
Travel Consultants, Grand Rapids, Michigan
ULF, VanHaarte, Germany
URS Corporation, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Varnum Riddering Schmidt & Howlett LLP, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Watermark Country Club, Grand Rapids, Michigan

COMMISSIONS

Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan
DP Fox Ventures LLC, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Herman Miller, Inc., Zeeland, Michigan
Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones PLC, Grand Rapids, Michigan