Mike Hawthorne was born in Castlerea in 1950 into a family of Monumental Sculptors where drawing and designing were part of every day life. This was an era in which there was no access to the technology that young artists have available to them today, and any young sculptor or artist had to acquire and learn his craft as an apprentice. An inherent ability to draw at an early age was cultivated and encouraged in school and at home among family and friends. A year living and working in London in the late sixties studying draughtsmanship and commercial illustration helped build a strong appreciation for all kinds of representative art, in particular the work of artists such as Norman Rockwell, Robert Woods, David Sheppard and Robert Taylor.
Being successful as a painter used to depend to a great extent on ones acceptance within the fold of contemporary art. This has now thankfully changed. The internet has opened up a whole world of opportunity for all aspiring artists of every style and fashion. In the final analysis it is the viewing public which decides the success or otherwise of a painter. The simple philosophy surrounding all the work produced by Michael Hawthorne over the years can best be summarised in the following way that "painting for the enjoyment of others is infinitely more rewarding then painting for oneself".
Michael has exhibited over several years at Boyle Arts Festival (prize winner) and at Kenny's Art Gallery Galway and the Barrel Gallery, Carrick on Shannon. He took part in the "Art for Somalia" auction in Galway sponsored by Kenny's Art Gallery. He was a finalist in the Moyglare, Stud national competition 1989 and a winning designer of the civic arms for Castlerea. He was commissioned by the dioceses of Elphin to paint the portrait of the late Bishop Dominic Conway and his work was chosen to promote and represent the annual Christmas appeal of Mayo Roscommon Hospice.
His work can be found in the private collections of President Michael D Higgins, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, County Leitrim Civic Offices, County Roscommon Arts council and also many private collections in England, Germany, America and South Africa and in the AIB branch in Castlerea, and the Bank of Ireland in Castlerea.