Michael Chavez

Michael Chavez is an Archibald finalist and has been 'nominated as one of the top 20 artists under 35 in Australia' by an independent panel of curators and arts writers assembled by Art Melbourne 06. He was featured in New Generation, a showcase of emerging artists who are 'doing important work and should be considered seriously by collectors and astute investors.' A former animator at Disney, Warner Bro's and Dreamworks, Mike is now an independent artist working for his own damn self. Chavez’s exploration of his Filipino heritage through the western lens of post post modernism gives his work a unique and powerful impact.His work is both hard hitting and humorous, as evidenced by some of his comments regarding his works.

There’s a Filipino expression, “bahala na” which means “come what may” or “leave it to God”. It’s a fatalistic view, which may account for why Filipinos are generally blasé about life and death, living in the moment with little regard for tomorrow. Add to this, a macho culture obsessed with cockfighting, B-grade action films and 80’s rock and you’ve got the ingredients for new works such as Live Fast Die Young. A previous show GHETTO SUPERSTAR explores the issues of exploitation and the emergence of the third world, notions of beauty, gender, identity, transformation. Oh, and by the way – they're not girls.

Mike's paintings based on the Australian ute explore the themes of racism and parochialism through their use of bold images, slogans and repetition. And in works featuring anthropomorphized animal characters he examines the complexities of the human condition.

Sure, I could go on about how I wanted to explore the “nature of human relationships, courtship rituals, gender politics and sexual dynamics by juxtaposing our conversational intimacies and pillow talk with anthropomorphic animal couplings”. But really, I just thought it would be fun to paint a pair of pandas rooting.

—Michael Chavez


Solo exhibitions

2010 "It Got Weird Didn't It?" Chaffers Gallery Wellington

2009 "Ghetto Superstar" Mossgreen Gallery Melbourne

2009 "Ghetto Superstar" Iain Dawson Gallery Sydney

2008 "Menagerie a Trois" Edwina Corlette Gallery Brisbane

2008 Iain Dawson Gallery Sydney

2008 "A Fistful of Pesos" Mossgreen Gallery Melbourne

2007 "Paintings My Mother Wouldn't Hang" Diaz-Castillo Gallery Melbourne

2007 "Four Play" Lorraine Pilgrim Gallery Queensland

2007 "50 years in Hollywood" Gullotti Galleries Perth

2006 "Peepshow" Gullotti Galleries Perth

2006 "Terror Australis" Fox Gallery Brisbane

2006 "Terror Australis" Linden Gallery Melbourne

2006 "Smells Like Victory" Beatty Gallery Sydney

2005 "All Your Base are Belong to Us" Smyrnios Gallery Melbourne

2005 "Roots in Beaut Utes" Beatty Gallery Sydney

2005 "Yard Sale" Doggett St Studio Brisbane

2004 "Weapons of Mass Deception" Ric's Bar Brisbane

2004 "Weapons of Mass Deception" Fox Galleries Brisbane

Selected group exhibitions

2009 Archibald Finalists Touring Exhibition AGNSW

2008 Edwina Corlette Gallery Brisbane

2007 "Eleven" Harrison Galleries Sydney

2007 "Let Them Roam" Harrison Galleries Sydney

2006 "5 Young Artists" Harrison Galleries Sydney

2006 Art Sydney 06 Walker Fine Art

2006 Art Sydney 06 Paul Gullotti Galleries

2006 Art Melbourne 06 New Generation

2005 "Pink Pigs Go Pop" Popshop Gallery Melbourne

2005 "Discovery Art Prize" Gasworks Melbourne

2004 "Business as Usual" Fox Galleries Brisbane

2004 "Anniversary Show" Doggett St Studio Brisbane


2009 Selected Finalist Archibald Prize

2008 Selected Finalist Fleurieu art Prize

2007 Selected Finalist Prometheus Award

2007 Selected Finalist Metro 5 Award


National Portrait Gallery


Latrobe University Museum

Hardy's SA

Private collections in Australia, Singapore, USA and Canada.