Mike Whiteley was born in Lincoln Nebraska in 1956 he lived there until moving to Boulder Colorado in 1985 and has lived in Longmont Colorado since 1988. He lives there with his wife Rita and their dog Twinkie.

He received an BFA from the University Of Nebraska, Lincoln in 1983 and an MFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1987. He received the Vreeland Award for Creativity while at the University of Nebraska and was named The Nebraska Youg Artist of the Year in 1985. He has exhibited in galleries and museums around the country and has work in both public and private collections.

Whiteley worked for most of his adult life as a chef in restaurants, hotels and catering companies, starting and running his own catering company for a few years. He also worked for Lonmont Wheels on Meals, cooking food for the home bound elderly until in 2011 he retired from the kitchen to work full time on his art. He also works as a voulnteer ranger for the Indian Peaks Wilderness Aliance and as a volunteer Outings Leader for the Sierra Club.