native Michael Peschka has been drawing from the age of three and
was first exhibited at the age of eleven at the prestigious Laguna
Gloria Art Museum, now the Austin Museum of Art. He attended Westlake
High school, graduating in 1976. After High School, Michael moved
to Los Angeles where he joined the Beverly Hills Art League and
met the painter Anthony Casay who became a strong influence.
After returning to Texas
in 1977 Michael studied art history at Austin Community College
and fine arts at the University of Texas under Dr. Gabrielle Yablonsky,
former artist-in-residence to the King of Bhutan. The next year,
1978, Michael met Countess Caja Palffy ab Erdod who had just opened
an art gallery on Congress Avenue. On their first meeting Countess
Palffy invited Mr. Peschka to her gallery where she showed him a
photograph of a painting. “Michael, what can you tell me about
this painting?” she asked, eyeing him carefully.
“Yes, it is. It
belonged to my aunt Gladys who was Duchess of Marlborough. But what
else do you see?”
Michael looked again
at the photograph, then looked into the ice-blue, piercing eyes
of this intelligent woman. “It’s backwards.”
The Countess was stunned.
“How could you know that? I mean, NO ONE has ever guessed
that! You see, this photograph was printed from a slide and the
printer made this photograph from the wrong side of the slide.”
From that moment on the
nineteen year old young man and the fifty-four year old Countess
from Europe became the closest of friends despite the 35 year age
difference between them. Very soon Michael was working in the Palffy
Gallery every day and soaking up the environment, and the art as
well as listening intently to the stories of art and royalty that
had comprised so much of the Countess’s life.
1981 Countess Palffy called Michael at home and said, “Look,
Michael, you have to go to Europe.”
“Yes, you do, and
you have to go in three months. I have arranged it already: you
will stay with my ex-husband Silvano Valtorta-Ceroni in Brussels
and you are going to apprentice under the portrait painter to King
Baudouin of Belgium. It’s all worked out. Come to the gallery
tomorrow and we will begin your French lessons.”
Three months later Michael
found himself in the atelier of the maitre, Albert Schollaert, portrait
painter to the King of Belgium. He studied portrait painting and
art restoration, concluding his apprenticeship by restoring a School
of Rafael painting of the Madonna and Child with St. John.
After returning to Texas
Michael continued to paint portraits but friends got him into designing
and painting theater sets and backdrops. This trained him to work
on a large scale which eventually led him to begin painting large
commercial murals around Austin. Michael’s murals can be seen
at Maria’s Taco Xpress, Baby Acapulco, the Treehouse Italian
Grill, Rocco’s Grill in Lakeway, Texas Custom Boots, Bufalo
Bob’s Chalupa Wagon and the Jalopy Rotisserie and Press.
In 2010 Michael met a
young homeless man named Zach and his dog Lila. Wanting to do something
to help this unfortunate man, Michael did a painting of the two
in oils on cardboard, hoping to sell the painting to raise money
for Zach and his dog. Posting the portrait on Facebook, Michael
began to receive comments from hundreds of people along with stories
and photographs of homeless people around the world. In a very short
time Michael was painting homeless people in San Juan, Puerto Rico
and people left homeless from the devastating floods in Pakistan,
along with more paintings of local homeless people. The Homeless
Project was born. Offers of partnership with other homeless organizations
began pouring in from Korea, South America, England, Egypt and other
countries. Nearing its one year anniversary next month, The Homeless
Project has lost some momentum due to an inability to accept the
many offers of partnership; more local support is needed, more contributions
of artworks of all kinds that can be sold or auctioned are needed
and more help at the organizational level to manage the business
end of the operation is crucial.
In the fall of 2009 Michael
Peschka was ennobled as Duke, Dux Bellorum to His Imperial Royal
Majesty Czar Darius Adrik Salvo I Noto von Holstein-Gottorp-Trifiro-Kings
and made Artistic Adviser and Imperial Portrait Painter to His Majesty.
This year, 2011, Michael was also made Artistic Adviser and Royal
and Imperial Portrait Painter to His Imperial Royal Highness Prince
Gharios of Ghassan and was awarded the title of Viscount of Mounsef
and a knight of the Order of St. Michael the Archangel.
Michael is also working
regularly in Los Angeles, California and Port Townsend, Washington
but remains based out of Austin, Texas. He may be contacted at email@example.com."