Michelle Valborg Kondos is among the most active and successful professional portrait artists working in America today. Her work is appreciated for both her technical skill at capturing the outward likeness of her subjects, as well as for the sensitive and insightful portrayal of their characters and personalities.
In 2002, she was commissioned to paint the official portrait of former New Orleans Mayor, Marc H. Morial. The painting hangs in the historic Gallier Hall in the City of New Orleans' collection, The Hall of Mayors, which contains the portraits of every Mayor of New Orleans to date. In 2007, she was also honored to be commissioned by the Louisiana Supreme Court to paint another former New Orleans mayor, Ernest "Dutch" Morial, who was also the first African-American Louisiana Supreme Court Justice. Among her many other official commissions of prominent individuals are portraits of C. Howard Candler III of the Coca Cola Corporation, Andrei Codrescu, popular poet and National Public Radio commentator, best-selling author Steven Forrest, Dean Brian Bromberger of Loyola Law School, as well as portraits of leaders in many other universities, institutions, churches, and corporations.
The main body of Kondos' work lies in the field of intimate family portraiture of adults and children. These portraits hang mostly in private collections and homes. She is particularly celebrated for her ability to capture images of childhood.
In the late 1990s, she began several years of traveling to Venice, Italy, doing landscape and cityscape painting while living there every summer. Not long after, she also began painting the Southwest of the United States, particularly the mountain and desert landscapes of Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. She is also known for her elegant still-lifes as well as animal portraits. In 2010, her canine painting, "The Faithful Team", was awarded the top prize in it's catagory at the Morris and Essex Kennel Club Art Competition.
Michelle Valborg Kondos was born in 1965. She spent her childhood in Boston and New England. Her mother is Swedish and her father Greek so the family traveled extensively in Europe as well. Art is in her blood, as her great-uncle, Sven Wickstrom, was a renowned artist in Sweden whose work hangs in the collection of the National Museum in Stockholm.
Kondos began painting and drawing at a very early age and her interest in portraiture surfaced then as well. As a child she would frequently ask family members to sit for her so that she could draw them. Her technical art training began at the age of 13 when her gift was recognized and she received a scholarship to study life-drawing at the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. From 1983-1987, she attended Bennington College in Vermont where she studied Fine Art. She also attended Regents College in London for a year, where she studied art history in the museums of London and painting under Owen Wood, the English artist and illustrator.
In 1989, Kondos moved to New Orleans where she continued her studies for several more years with the well-known Latvian painter, Auseklis Ozols, at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Art. It was during this time that she honed her craft as a painter of traditional portraiture, studying anatomy and the classical methods of painting in oil.
Kondos has made her living as a fine artist since her late twenties. As even a brief exploration of her paintings will reveal, her work continues to individuate and gain depth of character with each passing year. Her paintings hang in public and private collections throughout the United States and Europe.