Michael R. Blatnik is a native of Denver, Colorado and has been an artisan for over 40 years. He has also lived in Taos, New Mexico and has traveled extensively to the Colonial Cities of Mexico to study the Pre-Columbian, Renaissance, and Baroque arts.
A major part of his career was centered on the restoration and reproduction of fine antique furniture and objects of art, many of which are now inclusive of museums and private art collections.
He spent seven years as a studio assistant to several leading fine artist including Hollis Williford and Ned Jacob. “I think working with Hollis and Ned taught me the importance of passion and technical integrity, regardless of medium,” said Blatnik.
After working with those artists, Blatnik became a custom frame maker. Many of the frames in the Jan and Frederick R. Mayer, Spanish Colonial Art Collection in the Denver Art Museum were crafted by Blatnik over a five-year period and were included in several major exhibitions of the collection. He continues to design and handcraft frames and is pleased to be an associate of Will and Lee Mallett.
As he approached his fiftieth year, he decided to collect his life and career experiences and as he said, “Reinvent myself in my own creative expression”.
Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods in Northeast Denver where Blatnik spent his early years was “a good place to grow up”. They were communities where hardworking lower-income families strove to raise their children and reach better economic and educational opportunities. It was a melting pot of ethnic America. There were many immigrant families from countries, that as a child Blatnik could only guess at the names and places they came from, let alone pronounce them. Many of these families had emigrated from Central and South America through Texas, New Mexico, and Southern Colorado, some requiring several generations to arrive. “I think like many immigrants, they tried to assimilate into the existing social structure, sometimes at the risk of losing the rich diversity of their various cultures. I was curious and had no problem asking them many questions.”
The abstract concepts of faith have always intrigued Blatnik and he still marvels at the physical manifestation of spiritual thought. Living in New Mexico gave him the opportunity to study the art forms of the Penitente Brotherhood. He found in the presentation of the retables and bultos a hauntingly compelling simplicity. The pursuit and study of folk art and faith have brought Blatnik to this space in time and the works he produces.
“Graven images are only such when one merely lacks the knowledge to perceive a deeper intent.” – Michael R. Blatnik
Blatnik’s gallery features not only his paintings but also his unique framing skills. All artwork with a price is available for purchase.