By Rebecca Pikus

Charlie Ciali has a totally likable personality!  His wide-open boyish grin, warm handshake (or hug!) and affable manner can’t be missed.  But his happy-go-lucky demeanor belies a very serious & disciplined artist.  Ciali’s work is primarily monotype prints and encaustic painting, and he works in acrylic and resin.

Monotype prints are prints pulled from a painting that has been painted on a plexiglass plate. Only one impression is made from the painted plate. The difficulty in this method of work is that the artist is always working in reverse of the final piece, & several “drops” of the inked plate may run through the press on one piece until the finished art work is achieved. Encaustic paintings have a long and rich history dating back to 800 B.C. Greek shipmakers using beeswax to caulk their boats may have begun to add pigment to the wax to decorate them. The Romans and Greeks used pigmented wax to paint over marble sculptures to give them a more life-like form. The most recognized art for this era are the Fayum Portraits from Greco-Roman Egypt that date from 100 B.C. to A.D. 200 – they were head and shoulder wax portraits set into mummy casings.

Ciali’s latest paintings are part of the “American Flag Series”.  He explains:


“Artists often come full circle many times in their careers. This group of paintings revisits imagery that has emerged many times in my work. I have traditionally been a printmaker and encaustic painter. These paintings however are mixed media and acrylic with resin. I paint between the layers of resin to create a dream-like depth using imagery that has historic and personal relevance. The series is called the American Flag series. During this time of intense political drama I hoped to capture a place in our culture that isn’t the “greatest” or the “best” but is the most real. Only in that reality do we discover who we really are. Color and tonal value is important in these works in establishing a thought rather than a realistic depiction of the subject matter.”

Charlie Ciali received his B.F.A. Degree in Ceramic Arts from Daemen College in 1978, followed by graduate studies at Edinboro University, Edinboro, Pa. During that time his work was shown in many group shows including the Albright Knox Art Museum, Buffalo New York and won entry into the “Super Mud” Exhibition at Pennsylvania State University, the leading American ceramics exhibition of its time. Following Graduate School he became a flight attendant for a major airline of which he is now retired. Living in Minneapolis for over two decades he worked as the Assistant Director for MC Fine Arts Gallery.  After five years with MC Gallery he opened his own gallery, “Perspectives” which specialized in glass and ceramic arts.  Perspectives Gallery earned national recognition in several trade magazines and was named “Best of the Twin Cities” for art galleries in its first year. The Gallery was invited to participate in a visiting Gallery Exhibit at the Tokyo Exhibition Center in 1995.

In 2002 he moved to Palm Springs and shortly after opened Ciali Studio where he offers assisted open studio time and teaches workshops.  Currently he also teaches several workshops around the country in both monoprint and encaustic painting.  He also teaches printmaking for the Palm Springs Unified School District from grades five through twelve.  Ciali has served as a Palm Springs City Commissioner on the Parks and Recreation Board and the Palm Springs Public Arts Commission. He has also served as President on the Board of Directors for the Palm Springs Art Museum Artists Council.  He has been a mentor for seven years with the Arts Institute of Palm Springs High School and has served as President of the Board for the Friends of the Arts Institute at Palm Springs High School.

In 2012 he launched a printmaking program with the Palm Springs Unified School District teaching printmaking from grades levels 2-12.  He is a certified Artists Instructor for AKUA INK, Speedball and Enkaustikos Wax Supplies.  Ciali is an award-winning artist and is in collections both nationally & internationally

Charlie Ciali:  Artists Reception “American Flag Series”, SAT, Nov. 26, 5:00-8:00PM – REBECCA FINE ART GALLERY, 68895 Perez Rd, #7, Cathedral City, Ca  (760) 534-5888 – – Open Bar, Music, Amazing Art