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It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Michael Wysochansky.
3/20/14 - Michael S. Wysochansky obituary

Michael Wysochansky is an “artistic savant”. Born February 2, 1951 in Scranton, PA.  He attended Catholic elementary education at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Ukrainian Catholic Church in Olyphant, PA.  Michael did not feel comfortable in the public school system and was enrolled in St. Joseph’s Monastery in Glen Cove, Long Island NY for 10 months during the 1960’s.  Illness, headaches and epilepsy plagued him through those years at the monastery.  Michael’s uncle, Father Constantine, recommended that he stay with him in the early 70’s in Stanford, Ct.  Seizures continued to plague Michael, while his parents lived in Lansdale, PA.  Michael was admitted to the Philadelphia Hospital in November of 1970.  Michael’s uncle, Father Walter again recommended he return to St. Joseph Monastery as a maintenance worker.  From 1973 to 1975 Michael continued to work at the Monastery while showing small works at the Glen Cove Shadowbox Art Gallery under the guidance of Hungarian artist Steven Rettegi.  In 1977, he returned to Pennsylvania to live with his uncle, Father John in Palmerton, PA.  Michael returned home to Scranton, PA and began working as a bag boy for the IGA Supermarket in Peckville, PA.  Michael continued to do this from 1978 to 1991.  In 1985, he enrolled in the ICS Correspondence School to study art.  During this time, he produced over 10,000 unique drawings which were subsequently thrown away.  Michael developed myositis during this time from pushing carts through the supermarket parking lot and found employment with the Goodwill Industries in Scranton, PA.  They found employment for Michael at the Scranton Lace Factory as a custodian from 1991 until 1999 when he was laid off.  Michael’s sold several hundred drawings through the Goodwill Stores at that time.  Since being laid off at Goodwill Industries Michael found employment at Allied Services in Clark Summit, PA as a custodian until being laid off in 2005.  Michael has produced over 20,000 artworks in his life time, all but a small handful are accounted for.  He did however sell works and participated in group shows from 1977 to 1998.

As one of the strangest turns in Michaels early years the music group “ Grateful Dead” had some how recruited his art work to incorporate into their news letter, t shirts and bumper stickers. Michael will not talk about this and never received any revenue or royalties for this. The following from the “Grateful Dead” website “Relix”.

Notes: The Cajun anthem, “Iko, Iko,” was being played by the Grateful Dead and became very popular as a catch-phrase. Unfortunately, no one knew how to spell it, so the early spelling was

Aiko, Aiko. This illustration, done by Michael Wysochansky, was a favorite. It went into the magazine as an illustration, and it was used as sticker and t-shirt art as well.
Item: I-4

 

Notes: Toni was looking for a piece of art to use on the letter pages of Relix, and she fell in love with this illustration. Michael Wysochansky was the illustrator. It was used for many years to introduce the very popular letters column.
Item: I-5

Notes: Sugar Magnolia artwork by Michael Wysochanski. This was the original concept that later became the Dear Relix letter column logo.
Item: I-34

 

Michael’s mother sold drawings at various antique dealers, local stores and floral shops for meager amounts.  Some of the group shows that Michael participated in include a Pittston, PA art gallery in 1978, Everhart Museum in Scranton, PA in 1978, Hazelton PA Art League in 1978 and 1980.  He has had a newspaper article and photograph of his work published in the Scranton Times in 1994. Today Michael works 5 hours a week for Lackawanna County Allied Services folding napkins around silver ware at The Agency on Aging in Scranton PA.  Throughout all of Michael’s trials and tribulations, he has never wavered in his pursuit of drawing.  Michael firmly believes that if he would no longer be able to draw, for any reason, he will perish and phrases his art “do or die”.

 

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