Charles M. Wysocki, Jr., was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Charles M. Wysocki and Mary K. Wysocki. His father was born in Poland, while his mother was born in Kansas to Polish-born parents.
At Cass Technical High School in Detroit he studied art. In 1950 while working in local art studios, he was drafted into the Army and spent his two-year hitch in West Germany. After his service he went to the Art Center School in Los Angeles under the G.I. Bill, where he studied to be a commercial illustrator. After working in that field in Detroit for four years, he returned to Los Angeles where he helped to form a freelance advertising agency.
In 1960, he met Elizabeth G. Lawrence, an art graduate of UCLA, whom he married on July 29 of that year in Los Angeles. Through his wife, whose family were early settlers in the San Fernando Valley, Wysocki came to appreciate a simpler, more rural life than that of the big city. Together they made many trips to New England, which served to nurture his interest in early American folk art. For a while, he continued his lucrative commercial art work while developing his primitive art in his spare time. Eventually, though, he devoted all of his attention to this new interest. His work was marketed and licensed by AMCAL, Inc. and for a time by the Greenwich Workshop, Ltd.
His books include An American Celebration: The Art of Charles Wysocki.