Born in 1967 in Lafayette, Louisiana, USA, Michael Ray Charles currently lives and works in Austin, Texas, USA, and Gent, Belgium. He spent most of his youth in California and Louisiana. He studied design and advertising for three and a half years before being awarded a BFA degree in 1989. He went on to obtain an MFA in 1993 at the University of Houston, Texas, before teaching at the University of Texas in Austin. In 2014, he joined the faculty of the University of Houston. His work features in a wide range of public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Arizona State University Art Museum and San Antonio Museum of Art in Texas.