Places & Names
Max was born and raised in a traditional, rural extended family of primarily Scottish ancestry in the hills of southeast Ohio (Marietta) and the cornfields of southern Indiana (Rushville). He has spent most of his adult life in the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and in the mountain wilderness of the Mojave Desert. He currently lives in a remote mining and ranching community in southwest New Mexico. Although his ancestry is mostly Scottish, his birth name is Tim Ludington; he has twice adopted pseudonyms (Max Klein, Max Carmichael) to signify significant changes in life.
Youth & Education
Max spent his early childhood exploring the natural world, drawing and making stories and songs about wild things and their habitats. In school, he showed talent in the arts, sciences and academics in general. Because of this and because he was small, he was bullied by adult authorities as well as by other children. Encouraged by his parents and a few inspiring teachers, he continued to create, leading numerous performing and recording bands and winning awards and acclaim in all the arts.
Max studied art, science and philosophy on a scholarship at the University of Chicago. Frustrated by poverty, having learned no marketable skills, he went on to complete engineering degrees at Illinois Institute of Technology and Stanford University, working and earning fellowships to pay for tuition and expenses, majoring in dynamics, the science of motion and change, and minoring in philosophy. Continuing to make music, art and literature, he spent a year at California Institute of the Arts as an informal student-at-large. There, his life as an artist was transformed by exposure to the cutting edge of global culture.
Life & Work
Max has encountered frequent crossroads in life, where he has been presented with difficult choices, and he has taken dark and lonely paths in search of experiences that would enrich his art and knowledge.
To support his art, he has worked at dispiriting office jobs, and when those failed, he has worked construction. He enjoys building and working with wood, and spent a year apprenticed to a luthier. He has crossed the country in boxcars, slept under bushes in city parks, been homeless and wrongfully incarcerated, and has foraged in supermarket dumpsters.
He was an active participant and leader in a vibrant underground music and arts community in San Francisco.
He fell in love with the Mojave and Great Basin deserts and took an extended field course in aboriginal survival skills at Boulder Outdoor Survival School in Utah. He spent a year alone in the wilderness, foraging for wild food and sleeping in the open under the stars. He has assisted desert scientists in field work ranging from wildlife biology to archaeology, and has labored intensively to restore healthy natural habitats.
He has worked in the movie industry and at the forefront of the dotcom boom.
With the help of a group of hard-working rural volunteers, he started a true harvest festival to celebrate the harvest, support growers, and build community. This festival is now recognized as one of the most successful events in southwest New Mexico.
See specific Bios under Music, Art, Writing and Design for more details.