Artist Chuck Middlekauff

An example of fine art by Chuck Middlekauff

Photo of Chuck Middlekauff

The Artist Says:

I have a passion for the open road, garage band music, and the icons of the American West. Going back to Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger, heroes when I was a kid, the distinctive qualities of cowboys touch something inside me. It’s the rugged softness of their jeans, cracks and holes in their boots, the angle and shape of their hat, and their overall posture and attitude. But beyond that, I paint what cowboys do when they’re not roping cows. They fix bikes, dangle yo-yos, and eat M & M's.
So I paint things that might not appear together in real life, but in my mind they could. I add toys, license plates, diner booths, vintage pickups, battered neon signs, and ragged billboards. And murals on old buildings inspire me to paint some things as if they’re painted on weathered wood. I love Andy Warhol's stuff, so I regularly include some of his images in my work (Marilyn Monroe, Campbell's Soup Cans, etc.). To add more layers of interest and color, I leave some arts of the canvas "unfinished" and then I splatter, drip, and drop paint onto the painting, then I paint images of my brushes, pencils, and other art tools on top. So you have a painting of a painting in progress, or I like to think I'm giving the viewer the same feeling I have when I'm painting to my favorite music, classic rock of the 50's, 60's, 80's, country and western, even some blues, especially the Beatles, John Mellencamp, and Alan Jackson.
I think the garage-band style of my work appeals to my fans, so it’s okay if they mention the fun lighting, colors, subjects, and titles—but not the refined technique. The bottom line: I like to make people smile.
I'm still amazed that God has seen fit to have my work represented in so many of America's best galleries, as well as giving me the opportunity for a one-man exhibit and show at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia, that then traveled to the Legacy Gallery in Scottsdale - sold a bunch of them, too. And the wonderful contemporary western art museum has even purchased some of my paintings for their permanent collection! 

Collectors Say:

Western Art &Architecture says:
Chuck Middlekauff’s vibrant retelling of the American West through billboards, surfboards, Coke cups, candy wrappers, pay phones, toys, records and stuff from the workbench brings a fresh perspective to nostalgia. Excerpting fragments of roadside reality with bits of pop culture, Middlekauff’s West reflects the modern cowboy at rest, the iconic gas pump encased in memorabilia, a time-weathered billboard offering a night’s rest.
His bold color vocabulary speaks to the heart of Americana, regaled in pageantry and showmanship. Middlekauff’s motifs undergo a degree of transform- ation, filtered through his memory, rusted by his own childhood recollections, ringed with a collagist’s humor.
Seth Hopkins of Booth Western Art Museum, Cartersville, Georgia, says:
“I believe Chuck Middlekauff is one of the keenest observers of the contemporary West. His paintings are a mirror showing us who we are and who we were. He is also capturing icons that may be lost within the next generation.”

Dealers Say:

Ginger Richards of Legacy Gallery says:
"Chuck Middlekauff has traveled by car around America his whole life and is always inspired by what he sees on his travels. He recreates Route 66 and the western culture. He uses bright colors and many techniques to create fine art with an entertaining twist. Many of his subjects are nostalgic, and others are humorous and always clever."
Donna Howell-Sickles of Davis & Blevins Gallery, Saint Jo, Texas says:
“[Chuck's} titles add yet another level of creativity, so his paintings and ideas seem to expand the longer they are viewed. His work is moving toward more color, more layers, more details, making it perfect for today’s West. The work is a fresh pop twist on the West.” 



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American Pop
American Pop Signs
The Early Years
Born in Massachusetts and raised as an "Air Force brat," I rode with my two younger sisters in the back seat of our station wagon on cross-country trips to Dad's new duty stations, treasuring our stops at cafes, gas stations, tourist-trap shops, and classic motels. With each new set of neighborhood kids, I was the young "director" who (inspired by TV and movie Westerns) passed out cap guns and other props for cowboy and Indian games.
Not an Artist Yet
I sort of fell into being an artist later in life. God gave me some talent, so I suppose I could always draw, but aside from the doodles I did to amuse the kids at school, I didn't paint or draw. As a teenager, and still showing no interest in art, I played guitar in a garage band, listened to the Beach Boys, Beatles, and other music, and I sometimes skipped school to observe life firsthand. After high school, I joined the Navy to explore even more of the world.
Four years later, I went home to Austin, Texas, where my parents had retired. Drafting school let me explore some hand skills, and a part-time job at an insurance company led me to Carol. I married her, finished drafting school, and we moved to Colorado. As we began to travel together, my ongoing wanderlust infected Carol. (We've logged more than a million miles in cars, investigating the corners of the United States and Canada, and more miles camping across Europe on trains.)
The Artist in Me Wakes Up and Goes to School
After a few years as a draftsman in Denver, I enrolled at Metropolitan State College (now [...]

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