Alicia Czechowski, notwithstanding an MFA in Art from Wayne State University, is a self-taught artist, as most artists have been. Visual art, like music or dance, is the result of continual practice and a love for the chosen medium of expression. As a child with a natural aptitude for drawing and a lust for sheer visual experience, she began drawing with whatever materials came to hand. Her drawing skills developed during her teens, keeping a sketchbook handy at all times with the result that she did thousands of impromptu studies from life of happenchance subjects that struck a chord; people and animals at rest and in motion, random objects, buildings, vistas, and extempore imagined imagery.
Growing up in Detroit, Alicia Czechowski had ready access to the superb collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts. At the age of ten she did her first copy of a painting, a still-life by Claesz, which she rendered on much reduced scale in colored pencil, and then she did a somewhat more ambitious quarter-scale oil copy of “Trappers on the Missouri” by Bingham. Later, she did full scale oil copies of paintings, or details of paintings, by Frans Hals, Rubens, Chardin, Gainsborough, Van Dyke, Velasquez, Fantin-Latour, Fragonard and G. D. Tiepolo in the National Gallery and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Through copying works by these artists, Czechowski's aim was to imbibe something of the virtuosic fluidity and transcendent expressiveness of their handling of the painting medium. She says, “Being at work with your brushes and colors in front of a living, breathing painting by one of the greats, like Hals or Velasquez, is the most potent learning experience. It's is the best way to learn to paint, almost like journeying back in time and actually watching them at work at their easels.”
Alicia Czechowski's work is in private collections throughout the USA, in Mexico, Germany, the UK, and Japan. She has had solo shows in New York City, Connecticut, Maine and Wisconsin, as well as exhibiting widely throughout the US. She did over two hundred freelance illustrations for The New Yorker magazine during 1988 to 1995. Czechowski has taught painting, artistic anatomy, 3-D design, and drawing at Wayne State University, Portland School of Art, University of Utah, Heartwood College of Art, and was Professor of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for five years. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Rahr-West Museum, Miller Art Museum, and Haggerty Museum of Art.