Michael J. Guli was born on April 28, 1948 in Bath, New York, and his interest in art showed itself at an early age. During his high school years, Mike’s passion for the fine arts grew, evidenced by his taking every related class possible. After graduation, he went on to attend the renowned School of Visual Arts in New York from 1966-1968, where he found his form in acrylics. During this time he studied under such greats as Joseph Raphaele, Byrne Hogarth and Frank Viner, and also attended workshops in various artists’ studios including Frank Stella. In 1968 Mike changed to Adelphi University where he graduated in 1971 with a degree in Art Education.
Prior to graduating, in 1970 Adelphi University hired Mike to oversee and teach a specialized program as the Assistant Director of Arts and Crafts. The program was set up as an open classroom where any student could enjoy the atmosphere of an artist’s studio while furthering skills in their particular art form. Mike taught painting, photography, pottery, leather crafting, and any other of the fine arts that a student wanted to explore. By 1972, Mike became the Arts and Crafts Director. He went on to become the Assistant Program Director where he was responsible for the Ruth S. Harley University Center Gallery and Exhibition Spaces as the gallery curator. In 1974 Mike left Adelphi University to become an Art Therapist at North Shore University Hospital in Great Neck, Long Island. During this time, Mike continued to follow his art of painting in acrylics as well as designing leather goods.
In 1976, Mike moved to the front range of Colorado. To support his growing family through his art, Mike continued to put his energies into designing and making leather pieces. For the next 30 years, he focused on producing “wearable art” which has been worn by the likes of Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Ted Dansen, Hal Ketchum, Michael Martin Murphy and Miss Rodeo America 2001 – Miss Tara Graham. His leather works are on display at The Wilderness Lodge at Disney World and at notable museums across the country, and are included in the collection of the sculptor Dave McGary. As an expert of historic clothing of the early American West, Native Americans and Vaqueros, he has served as an advisor to several history and art museums.
With his children grown, Mike returned to his first love, painting in acrylics from his studio in the mountains west of Fort Collins, CO. He has been a featured artist with the Fort Collins’ Annual Studio Tour, and his works are in the private collections of John and Charlotte Whatley, Terry Conn, and Susan Marie Frontczak, to mention a few.
Mike has always had a passion to teach, counsel, and encourage both students and other professional artists, and has taught a variety of student programs in Fort Collins and been a featured instructor for community art clubs. Mike has been and continues to be instrumental in mentoring and inspiring local artists in their respective fields.