Jean Michalski was born on 10 December 1936 in Belgium. At the age of ten Jean climbed a utility pole together with friends and sustained such severe burn injuries that both his arms had to be amputated. Soon afterwards he learned to write and paint holding a pen between his teeth. He perfected his skills and received a scholarship from the Association in 1956. This enabled him to study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels. In 1960 he became full member of the AMPFA.