Gregor Mortis

Andrew Bedno

Mike "H-Dog" Browarski

Mike "Four/4" Brunner

Regina Buccola

William DarkŽ
& The Psycho Circus

Rachel Decker

Defiant Theatre Company

John DeLeonardis

AJ Esbrook

Mark Faje

Dara Gannon

Geoffrey Fingerhut

Alan Gold

Carm Grisolia

Cathy Haibach

Tom Hickey

The Higgins Family

Gail Knox

Nikki Lopez

Cristie Mather

Ron Mather

Daniel Myers

David Myers

Brian Miller

Rich "Ram" Moore

Richard "Chip" Rosenthal

Daniel Rowley

Karl Sacksteder

Mikel Samson

Madeline Schwartz

Brian Shaw

Cynthia Simms

Joe Swain

David Trantina

Reverend J Vela

James "Jaz" Zoccoli

Infernal Machine .01 (self-portrait) by Mikel Samson

Mikel Samson
visual misfit

The people who make art their business are mostly imposters.
- Pablo Picasso

Mikel speaks about Charybdis 
- video image from an interview by Madeline Schwartz

I became a member of Charybdis around March of this year. I was looking to get more involved with the Chicago art scene and I mean really involved. I like juried shows as much as any artist but I wanted to do more than just hand my work over to someone, have them hang it and watch people view it. Donít get me wrong, I LOVE exhibiting my work and watching people watch the work, But I wanted to contribute more than just handing my artwork over to someone else. Charybdis provided that outlet. There is no other multi-arts complex like it in the city!

To be honest the first time I went to Charybdis to check it out I was expecting a typical Chicago studio with a lot of pretentious art school kids. I had read their Mission Statement prior to this and I was thinking they talk the talk but do they electric boogaloo. It suffices to say that when I first walked in I was floored. The space was awesome, and I mean that in the dark ages, power of the gods type of way, and not the crappy SoCal surfer vernacular way. There was so much to look at. I couldnít take it all in. I still feel the same way every time I walk into the building. It is a cool space. Period.

As for the members, what can I say. This is a crazy, eclectic group of misfits. I love Ďem. We have visual artists, performance artist, thespians, musicians and what not. Plus the fact that everyone has such a different background makes Charybdis such a unique place. Itís a very odd extended family but somehow it works. I havenít been with Charybdis long but I feel very comfortable there. I am proud to be a part of it and to contribute to something I feel Chicago needs.

Caterpillar by Mikel Samson


I was born in Quezon City, Philippines on January 24, 1972 at approximately 6:15pm. The earliest drawing I can recall was that of a giraffe I did at the age 3. From what I remember, it was a pretty damn good giraffe. I moved to the USA at age 4 and as far as I can tell everything has been alright ever since.


I graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1994 with a BFA in Visual Communications and a Minor in Paleo-anthropology.


I have a crappy corporate design job. Corporate design has no soul. My freelance design / illustration work allows me a bit more creative freedom, lest I ever lose my soul to the corporate demon.

All my previous jobs have been somewhat art related.

  • Airbrush artist at Six Flags
    (Admit it. How many of you still have your hearts and sunsets t-shirts)
  • Art camp counselor for the Adler Cultural Center in Libertyville, Illinois
    (I had the pleasure of teaching the Mayor of Libertyvilleís son how to draw Batman)
  • TA for the School of the Art Instituteís Early College Program
  • Newspaper art columnist for the NIU Northern Star
  • I also gave pony rides to kids
    (Get yer minds out of the gutter. It meant that I lead a Shetland pony around while a kid was riding it. It may not have been art but it was interesting and it sure beats a desk job or food services).

  • Off Time:

    When I am not a slave to white collar conservative America, I am either:

  • Painting
  • Illustrating (a fancy way of saying dickin' around in my sketch book)
  • Attempting to finish my Comic Book Opus
    ďJohnny Stellar: Man of Mystery and MetaphysicsĒ
  • Reading my vast comic book collection
    (I have 34 long boxes. Thatís geek talk for a crap load of comics)
  • Catching up on my regular reading which mostly includes fantasy, sci-fi, horror, world religions, anthropology, and paleontology
  • Working on my model kits
  • Collecting toys! Especially GODZILLA and other related Kaiju Monsters and STAR WARS! I LOVE ALL THINGS STAR WARS! Did I mention I was a geek.

  • Relevance:

    I donít really know. All I do know is that I have to be doing something creative with my time. I put reading along side painting as being creative ícause it stimulates creative thought. Thatís usually where I get most of my inspiration for my art, that and movies. The three biggest influences in my childhood which sowed the seeds of what I try to show in my artwork are STAR WARS, ALIEN, and DINOSAURS. It doesnít sound profound, but it has MEANING to ME and thatís whatís important.

  • STAR WARS because it was bigger than life, and as a 5 year old kid it bombarded my head with the coolest visuals in the world and it opened my mind to more than what I could see around me.
  • ALIEN because it showed me that the grotesque and the surreal are beautiful. I was so fascinated by the look of the Alien. It was hideous and elegant at the same time. Itís a dichotomy which I like to use a lot in my work.
  • DINOSAURS because it made me see that there are real monsters in the world, not just the ones in movies. To a little kid that was so cool to imagine these gigantic monsters roaming the earth. This basically goes back to the Alien thing in that monsters and other weird, creepy things are cool.

    And again, what does this have to do with anything? Well, nothing really, Nothing that has any relevance to anyone else. But to me it was this exciting, horrible, creepy, wonderful adventure happening in my mind and I wanted to capture it and somehow make it real, if not for anyone else but for me. And I did it the only way I new how and that was by putting pencil to paper. Itís basically the same today as it was when I was but a wee lad. The adventure is still going on in my head and Iím just trying to give people a glimpse of it.

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