Artist Mike Cagle is an attorney working for Alaska Legal Services Corporation in Kotzebue, Alaska, but prior to moving 33 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Cagle worked for 40 years as an illustrator and graphic designer in Bloomington. He has been a contributor to Bloom Magazine since 2007.

Cagle, who spent his formative years living in Bloomington and neighboring Brown County, graduated from Indiana University’s Individualized Major Program (then called the Independent Learning Program) in 1979. He later returned to IU to earn an M.F.A. in graphic design, graduating in 1991.

Mike Cagle.

During his college years, Cagle illustrated for some of the university’s underground publications, like Fun City! and Primo Times, and for The Ryder.

“I was sort of on the very peripheral edge of some of the scenes of the so-called alternative or underground publishing,” Cagle explains. “A very diverse and very motley assortment of people worked on these things.”

Cagle’s professional life has seen stints at many well-known Bloomington establishments, including as a staff artist at the Indiana Memorial Union and a graphic designer at WTIU-TV/ WFIU-FM, in the interactive media department at The Herald-Times, and at Cook Medical, where he created medical and technical illustrations.

After many years in the art and graphic design fields, Cagle decided to apply to law schools for a change of profession and scenery. “I felt, honestly, like I’d gotten about as good at art and design as I was going to get,” Cagle says. “I thought, ‘I’d like to shake things up a bit and see what else I can do.’” He attended the Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, graduating in 2017, and moved to Kotzebue the next year.

For aspiring artists, he offers the following advice: “You don’t need a lot of talent, what you need is a lot of practice and the desire to do it. You might not become a Michelangelo or a Rembrandt, but you can definitely become better than you are.”

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See a photo gallery of Cagle’s work: