Michael AldagMichael Aldag is a fine artist from Southern Illinois. He draws inspiration for his work from his environment, childhood and faith. Art for him is not only a means of self-expression, but for self-reflection. The media and subject matter vary, however one thing is consistent; a sense of sobriety. This tone is ever-present in the world and it pervades Michael Aldag's artistic vision.


ILI: How long have you been an artist or when did you start? Was there a single incident or moment when you realized this was your passion and if so, tell us about it?



Aldag: As long as I can remember I have loved creating art. I recall when I was in first grade I entered a coloring contest a local news station was holding. I drew a girl in a yellow raincoat and matching boots running during a rainstorm. My entry was chosen the winner and shown on television. I knew I wanted to do art, and that early achievement helped encourage my passion.


Aldag rememberILI: Illinois has been factored into your work in the past. What does being able to live and work in Illinois mean to you?   

Aldag: Southern Illinois is where I was born and raised. So being here helps me keep in touch with the past. The memories and that sense of nostalgia influence my work. I also get inspired by my surroundings...literally by what's in my own backyard.   


ILI: What opportunities does Illinois present to local Illinois artists?   

Aldag: When I was a child I took classes at Cedarhurst, the local arts center. As an adult I have taught classes there and had my work displayed in their juried shows. The community art centers located throughout the state provide educational, employment and exhibition opportunities for locals.


ILI: What do you like about Illinois? 

Aldag lakehouseAldag: Quiet countryside down south and bustling big city life up north. It is great to experience both. But what ultimately makes a place special are the people, and I am grateful for the Illinoisans that have encouraged my artistic pursuits, whether that be by purchasing my artwork or cards, viewing my work in exhibits or just liking my page on Facebook.


ILI: What is your favorite medium to work in? 

Aldag: Mixed media...because there's no limit. I like working with diverse materials: pressed flowers, newspaper, found objects, etc. I am especially fond of collage. But I certainly enjoy aspects of other more traditional media I have used too, such as oil paint (depicting southern Illinois landscapes), graphite pencil (creating portraits), and more recently photography (capturing natural and man-made interests in my hometown).


Aldag with age comes darknessILI: Where can people view or purchase your work? 

Aldag: I have work in local shows (such as in Mount Vernon and Centralia) as well as in central Illinois (Peoria area), where the Illinois Art League is based. I also have artwork and cards for sale at the Mount Vernon Convention & Visitors Bureau. My art can be seen online at: https://michaelaldag.carbonmade.com/


ILI: What artist inspires you and why?   

Vincent van Gogh. I have always been drawn to his work, and the more I learn of him I am captivated by his life. He was a man that made art as compelling as he was. His style of painting was not so detailed or realistic that the mind had no where to wander. It was somewhat ambiguous. And I like a little bit of mystery.