Mike Ousley is a native of Southeastern Kentucky and grew up in Floyd County. The experience of a life in the mountains has shaped the attitudes that inform his painting and everyday life. I was raised up in the small and very isolated Mudlick Branch Hollow. My dad was a coal miner and we lived in a single wide trailer growing up. I played in the woods, creeks, and up and down the roads in this holler and that one. I was alway's surrounded by unique stories and character's from a very young age and I credit those folks for a great deal of inspiration.
As a student I remember walking past the Kentucky Folk Art museum everyday. I became mesmerized by the paintings of Charley Kinney, Hugo Sperger and Tim Sizemore(whom I talked with nearly every day). I also became influenced by a very thriving Appalachian Art's community in Morehead. I found inspiration through storytellers, old-time Fiddler's, wood carver's and others.