By Stephan Pisko
Fond memories’ of my cousin (Micheal Pisko) I was personally very influenced by his artistic integrity character and personality I never forgot the wonderful hours’ we spent talking about art/life he was a marvelous detailed explainer well you see he was trained as an engineer but when war broke out there were no jobs’ so he took up his hobby of art turned it into a commercial sign painting business (City Sign, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada). He creatively assisted many local businesses’ in the area I basically grew there in the mid-50’s to early 70’s with short employment stints within several locations’ in Canada (British Columbia) being my most favorite province in this country where I reside today with my lovely wife Beverly.
I remember Micheal being a most humble giving artist well known in Canada painted regularly with (A.Y. Jackson) one of the members’ of the “Group of Seven” famous art group of Canada in the 30’s 40’s 50’s 60’s. Jackson’s brother (Ernest) owned a business in Lethbridge so Jackson frequently came to Lethbridge and Micheal became good friends’ with A.Y. when you view Micheal’s paintings’ you can see a definite artistic visual influence from Jackson and the “Group of Seven” as a whole. Micheal was such a soft spoken intellect he was and still is one of my most remembered mentors’ even though we were family related artistic strings’ are unbiased to ties’ of any kind. When Isabelle his wife went for a holiday he sometimes stayed home to paint I remember going over to their house we spent the entire day discussing art he showed me in superb detail what he was creatively working on he was so relaxed with a dirty white t-shirt and coveralls in his garage which doubled as a studio in the summertime if Isabelle would have been there she would have made him change into cleaner clothes but that’s the way he was a “pure true artist” with a most high integrity.
The “University of Lethbridge” established a “Micheal Pisko Memorial Award” upon his passing in 1999. Micheal was also very close friends’ with “Roloff Beny” another famous Canadian born artist who lived in Rome for most of his life Roloff was son of Mr. Charles Beny who owned (2) car lots’ in Lethbridge and Medicine Hat, Alberta. Every year Micheal always invited me to Roloff’s private birthday parties’ at his parents’ home in Lethbridge when he visited from time to time.
Will never forget how Micheal and his wife Isabelle supported me within my creativity as well viewing my photographic-art and coming out to my public performances’ of Elvis impersonations’ in the 70’s and 80’s at local theaters’ and nightclubs’. Isabelle would mention to Micheal: “Look Stephan creates photographs just like Roloff!”. I remember one evening I was home and Micheal called me on the telephone to tell me that one of my Elvis photographs’ was in the window of a local photographer’s store it was very large there was such an excited tone in his voice which I still hold dear. Precious moments’ and times’ for they are priceless not knowing then how priceless I at least know now.