Mr. Manente was raised in Cleveland Ohio and earned his BFA at Ohio University. He remained in Cleveland for several years after graduation, teaching art in the Cleveland Public School System while working on his MA at Kent State University and exhibiting locally in group shows at the prestigious Cleveland Museum of Art and the Butler Institute in Youngstown Ohio.
He and his wife Cindy moved west to the Bay Area in 1978 and have remained in Oakland, California since then to raise a family and pursue their respective careers. Cindy as a school teacher and administrator and Michael as a Pictorial Artist in the outdoor advertising business.
Having painted backdrop scenery in a number of productions in college
Mike found he had a natural affinity for working in large formats like the ones used on the painted billboards and walls commonly seen on the streets and highways of the Bay Area. From sports stars like Reggie Jackson or super models like Christie Brinkley and even the now infamous “Marlboro” man, Mike painted them all! His work from this period, a period that is all but lost today, was twice featured in the San Francisco Chronicle in it’s Datebook section in June 1987 and the Sunday Focus magazine in May of 1996.
Being a highly ( no pun intended ) successful pictorial artist was what Mike did for a living to help support his growing family but through it all he kept up with his own art, staying with small plein air pastels and watercolors throughout the eighties. He began his own sign painting business in 1991 and by the late nineties was able to devote more and more time pursuing his art and personal vision. It was also at this time that Michael became a member of the American Society of Portrait Artists in New York City and a
certified instructor of the Portrait Institute’s Portrait Clubs of America also in New York.
Mr. Manente has worked in a couple of different studios over the years,
both his old West Oakland studio and current one in Emeryville have been located in gritty light industrial neighborhoods. Having grown up in an old “Rust Belt“ city like Cleveland Mike related naturally to the people and places he saw every day. The work presented here is a testament to his continuing fascination and love of painting what he sees.