June 12, 2017
To future artists and whom it may concern, I can say, without any
shred of hyperbole, Michael Cooley is a Columbus treasure.
The American art world, and Central Ohio with it, is awash with
opinions about what exactly constitutes beauty, and therefore what is
valued and praised as fine art. For the last 100 or more years,
ingenuity has reigned over technique resulting in pieces and
installations that are solely designed to provoke the viewer’s
sensibilities without any indication of traditional artistic talent.
And if you failed to understand a piece of “modern” art, then it was
you who was deficient, not the art.
Gone was the effort to capture a realistic representation of the human
condition on canvas, called classical realism. That is until recently.
In the U.S. and abroad in art capitals like Paris and Florence, there
is an exciting resurgence of art created in the tradition of
Michelangelo and Bouguereau.
That is what I wanted for my daughter. I wanted her to learn the
techniques of the masters. I wanted her to understand light, form and
tone. I wanted her to learn brush technique and the “tricks of the
We had tried the local art college’s summer classes and found them to
be simply a celebration of creativity without any real rigorous
approach to learning the craft. We tried numerous known and reputable
venues in the area with the same results. So many of them collect your
money, give you materials and assignments, but never teach you how to
achieve the result you want. It was like grown-up finger painting or
summer school for bored children.
Our goal was to raise her skill to a level that would earn her
admission and substantial scholarship dollars at the nations top art
schools. We wanted the art equivalent of a personal coach – but one
that really understood HOW to teach.
That’s when we found Cooley Studios. We met with Michael and explained
our objectives and he then explained how he could help.
Finally. I heard what I’d been waiting for. Here was an approach that
would take the time-tested lessons of the masters and adapt it to her
personal skill level and progress.
I will leave you to learn how Michael’s program works, but know that
it stems from the classic atelier approach that is supported by the
Art Renewal Center. Columbus is beyond lucky to have this instruction
available to us. There are far too few available in the whole of the
In her years with Michael, my daughter learned solid fundamentals and
progressed from simple graphite forms to oil based still life’s and
portraits. Her work has earned her two first-place Congressional Art
Awards and her pieces have hung in the U.S. Capitol. She also won the
regional Winston Art Scholarship, from the National Society of Arts
She was accepted to every U.S art school she applied to with generous
scholarship offers from SAIC and others (about $100,000 in total).
Ultimately, we found that even at the college level, the classic
approach is not emphasized. So we searched in France and Italy. She
was accepted (with advance placement) to the Angel Academy in Italy
but finally accepted the invitation to attend the Florence Academy of
Art’s three year program in Italy.
So much of her success is directly attributable to Michael. His
guidance, tutoring and proven approach have set her on her way to
becoming a Living Master. We are deeply grateful and eternally
indebted to him and his vision.
I wholeheartedly encourage you to learn more about his program and
trust in his tutelage. He will teach you what the masters knew.
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