Michael Ray Charles (born 1967) is an African American painter born in Lafayette, Louisiana.
He spent most of his youth growing up in Los Angeles, California, New Orleans, Louisiana and St. Martinville, Louisiana. He graduated from St. Martinville Senior High School 1985. Later that fall he entered McNeese State University, Lake Charles, Louisiana. Over the next three and one half years Charles studied design and advertising before receiving a BFA degree in 1989. After receiving his MFA degree in 1993 from the University of Houston, Houston, Texas, Charles began teaching at The University of Texas at Austin, Texas.
Charles is amongst the first group of artist showcased in the 2001, PBS series titled “Art21.” The watershed series highlights top artists of the 21st century. A 2003 article in Black Issues In Higher Education acknowledges Charles as one of the top future African American scholars under forty. In 2000, he was a consultant on Spike Lee’s film, “Bamboozled” and has been the subject of several film documentaries. Most recently, his work was included in the 2006 documentary “Race is the Place” and exhibitions at Cotthem Gallery, Barcelona, Spain and the PMMK Museum of Modern Art, Ostend, Belgium.
Today, Charles continues to exhibit in national and international venues. His work remains the subject of books, magazines, and newspaper articles and is included in many public and private collection. Currently, Charles is a Professor of Art in the department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin. He and his family reside in Austin, Texas.