Mike with his brother Bob catching Brook Trout
EARLY YEARS mike barlow biography
Mike was born in Gillette, Wyoming in 1963. His passion for wildlife formed early in his life as he spent his years participating in our Country’s western heritage of hunting and fishing. Mike grew up hunting on his family’s ranch and fishing at his family’s mountain cabin in the Bighorn Mountains. As a young boy, he poured over his father’s extensive collections of books on wildlife art. He especially enjoyed looking over the books on East African wildlife. At the age of 6 he began modeling in clay the animals he saw in those books.
He dreamed of going to Africa. At the early age of 10 years old his wish came true when his family took a month long safari in Kenya. Mike was fascinated with the animals and the Maasai people. He loved the experience and held onto those memories for a lifetime.
Mike’s first trip to Kenya, discovering an elephant femur bone
The memories from the safari to Kenya spurred his passion for more travel in his early 20’s. After one year at the Air Force Academy he spent many months traveling New Zealand, Australia, Nepal, India, Egypt, Kenya, Israel, Turkey, Bulgaria, Austria and Germany. During breaks while attending college at the University of Wyoming, Mike continued his traveling. He went to Hong Kong, Nepal, India, Kenya, Hungry, USSR and China. During a college class in Russian History he traveled to the USSR extending to Finland, Norway, Sweden, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
After graduating from the University of Wyoming Mike started traveling extensively. Over the years he filled his desire to see more of God’s creation buy journeying to many parts of the world to feed his fascination for wildlife, culture, and art.
Mike on the trail of an Alaskan Caribou
In 1989, he made wildlife photography his first professional, artistic career. Mike covered the world photographing. He spent many early mornings searching for the ultimate wildlife encounter, and many evenings chasing the golden light. He photographed wild big game, turkey, upland & waterfowl hunting, fly fishing & bass fishing. His wildlife photographs appeared on the covers of numerous publications, most notably Sports Afield, Outdoor Life and Field & Stream. During this time Mike showed the industry his writing talents. He coupled his photography with many published articles featuring his own wildlife experiences. Mike’s dedication propelled him as an industry leader in wildlife photography.
His years as a professional wildlife photographer served him well and gave Mike a solid foundation for the sculpture that he is so passionate about today.
In 2000, Mike entered full-time into a career as a wildlife sculptor. Mike and his work were quickly acclaimed throughout the art community. Today his sculpture is part of collections worldwide.
ARTISTIC MENTORS mike barlow biography
From an early age, Mike immersed himself in the study of the greatest American and European sculptors such as Alexander Phimister Proctor, François Auguste René Rodin, Antoine-Louis Barye and Pierre-Jules Mêne and notable painters such as Carl Rungius, Bob Kuhn and John Singer Sargent. Beginning as a teenager, he studied the art in museums of London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Madrid, Moscow, St. Petersburg, New York, and Los Angeles. Classic masterpieces greatly influenced Mike’s style.
EPIC STORIES TOLD IN BRONZE
Mike solidifies anatomical correctness into his sculpture, capturing the essence of his wildlife subjects. Mike has sculpted many captivating animal scenes that ultimately tell a potent story. Characteristically his dexterous surfaces magnify the true spirit of his wildlife subjects in a classical context.
Mike sculpting in his studio
ART STUDIO LIFE
Mike and his wife Tracy reside near the Yellowstone River in Paradise Valley, Montana. His studio is filled with mementos from his travels. His walls are adorned with images of his family, travel and wildlife photography. He surrounds himself with books filled with classic paintings and sculpture. You will find many books on World and American history and biographies on people who shaped the world. The studio pays homage to the animals he sculpts.
Mike immerses himself in his outdoor heritage of fishing, hunting and rafting the Yellowstone River. He enjoys reading about history and visiting museums. Lately, he aspires to being a gentleman farmer. Mike loves his family most of all.
“I work to express the strength and power of the animals I sculpt within a classical context.”
Mike Barlow's video interview with Safari Club International