Karel Mikolas was born in Prague in 1939 in the area of central Europe now known as the Czech Republic. His family has an uninterrupted history of over 300 years as skilled craftsmen, making and designing objects of beauty in virtually any material.
His humble upbringing was enhanced by his education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. Here he was able to further his real passion for monumental sculpture. Ever curious, Karel was finally able to bring to fruition the myriad of ideas in his head.
Upon graduation, Karel opened his first studio in Prague. There he orchestrated and trained a six-man team to perform harmoniously in the creation of his sculptures.
Realizing the limitations of living under Communist rule, Karel came to the United States in 1968 at the invitation of Alexander Calder. It was at this time that he was introduced to Isamu Noguchi. Both men encouraged him to work on his own.
As fate would have it, Karel came to Philadelphia in 1969 and soon secured a job with his true mentor, world-renowned architect Louis Kahn. There he served in the capacity of model-maker and materials consultant on Mr. Kahn’s projects. After Khan’s death in 1974, Karel moved to Pennsylvania. He bought a small property in the rural community of Newside – a place he would later fondly nickname “Nirvana East”. Here he was able to once again establish Atelier Mikolas and continue his work. He lives there to this day.