Micheline “Mickey” Ronningen received formal fine art training at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1972 on a full-tuition scholarship. She also spent a summer at the SAIC-affiliated Ox-Bow School of Art in Saugatuck, Michigan. Mickey’s explorations in art carries through experience in printmaking, sculpture, filmmaking, fabric dyeing, doll-making, landscape design, and most recently her returned focus to two-dimensional work on canvas, paper and Claybord. She finds further creative expression and support through writing, small-screen performance, and work dealing blackjack.
Receiving a grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council allowed the services of a professional business coach, Gigi Rosenberg. Partial outcome remains an active web site (www.artmsr.com), continuing education through workshop participation, exhibition experience in over twenty venues, numerous established social media connections, continuing studio work and an ongoing appreciation of the learning curve involved. Her work has been seen in over a dozen venues, nationally and in Europe. Two recent shows provided one-person platforms.
Micheline’s (Mickey’s) working life began at age fourteen as a cashier at Happy Foods in Chicago. Work continued through college with employment at Nielsen’s rating company, Illinois Bell phone company, various typing/filing positions, seasonal work as a Christmas tree decorator, and three years at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art primarily handling catalogue sales and installation.
Mickey has also worked on a Swiss farm as a “Mother’s Helper,” in Brussels as a French countess’s minion, and again as a grocery cashier in Flemish Belgium, all on a yearlong work/study visa. Later salaried positions include criminal justice research, bookkeeping at a famous restaurant, project secretary on an environmental impact study, graphic design for the Multnomah County Education Service District, landscape design, and longtime full-service editor and book indexer. Several of these positions included numerous video/photography assignments.
Publishing credits include co-authoring and illustrating a book on gardening, three-years writing about longevity for an online news source and producing an arts newsletter and blog. She has also created four children’s books and a nonfiction piece on muskoxen. Mickey continues to respond to requests for book reviews and consultation as time allows.
Performance work typically falls in the comedic range. She is a recurring character on the hit IFC series “Portlandia,” playing Carrie Brownstein’s mother in seasons two, three and five. Mickey has also performed in several widely-viewed humor-oriented commercials and acted as a featured extra on an upcoming HBO series starring Tim Robbins and Holly Hunter.
Balancing this work-oriented portrait is Mickey’s love for her husband of nearly forty years and other family members and friends, gardening, meditation, reading, physical therapy, and practicing amor fati—the love of one’s fate.
Her main passion remains studio work: visual arts and its development and contribution.