Quite mysterious and chatty at the same time, Mike is an interesting character. Gifted artist, he is one of these talented young painters that transforms ideas and images into beautiful canvases. Inspired by people and nature, he likes painting portraits and nature scenes.
He took part in a few different Exhigone editions, exhibiting his fascinating art work. I caught up with him while he was painting some murals outside the Brunswick Studios. Here is what we talked about.
Can you give us a bit of background, where are you from?
I was born in London and I have lived in London all my life. I have been an artist all my life. When I was a kid I used to have wall papers all around my bed and I used to draw monsters, space ships that kind of things. I have been doing that ever since. I love painting and drawing.
You always knew you were gonna be an artist?
I don’t know. When I was a kid I wanted to be a pilot…but I love being an artist.
What is your career path so far?
I studied to be an illustrator and I realised after graduating that it was not really my sort of career. I wanted to be more a fine artist, just a painter, not really too commercial. I’ve always wanted to do my own kind of things really.
Is painting your favourite thing or do you do other stuff as well?
Painting definitely. I do steel lights and portraits, that is what I am doing at the moment, kind of traditional painting.
How do you get our inspiration?
I like movies, I like painting movies like I am doing at the moment at the Brunswick Studios. I like watching old movies and getting an inspiration on how the lighting is. I am mostly interested in lights and I like in movies how the lights affect the camera, the characters and the scenes.
What is your favourite one?
I really like classics like the Orson Welles one, Citizen Kane, that kind of things.
What does being creative mean to you?
It is gonna sound cheesy but to me it means being fully alive, and get away, escape life in a way and be in another world.
What is the favourite thing you’ve ever created or ever painted?
It is a really difficult question, I like them all equally I guess. I paint a lot of nature scenes. I love nature so I love painting natural scenes. They all mean different things to me, you can’t have a favourite child!
What are you trying to communicate with your art?
Nothing really too deep. What painting means to me is like colours and shapes, I let the viewer see what they want to see. If they see something deep about it that is up to them. I paint what I like to paint. You can see a painting as a meal, like food, you get all these different tastes and flavours.
Do you have a dream project?
I’d like to do a portrait of a famous person. Not the Queen, not like that but maybe a film star.
Do you have an artist that you look up to, that you really like?
I love comic books. I like Dave McKean. It is quite dark and he uses lots of collage and mix media. I am really attracted to that, that kind of work. It makes me want to be more experimental. I love Monet as well.
What are you working on at the moment? Do you have future projects?
I am working on a few steel lights at the moment. I am doing a paint statue of Dionysus, the ancient god. Hopefully I can sell loads! I sold a few portraits, I have done a few family portraits as well.
How did you start the Exhigone adventure?
Denise introduced me to Exhigone. I took part into the second one in May in Giglink and I have really enjoyed taking part in that. It was a real buzz, and just to meet new artists as well. I met lots of new people. Talking about what they do and the techniques they use that kind of things, I really enjoy it. It is great to meet new people.
Do you want to talk about your experience of Exhigone?
I just think it is such a great opportunity. The venues are great. They are great areas to get your work seen by so many people because the turn out is really big at the event. I just think it is a great opportunity not only to have your work noticed but also to meet people and share ideas. And I also love the live art too.
Do you have something you’d really like to do in the show?
I’d love to do some live art at some point, and maybe have models dressed in Victorian clothing that we could paint, something retro, or wearing carnival mask.
Can you tell us something we don’t know about yourself?
I’m very good at belly dancing…haha…no more seriously, I’m self taught.
Thanks a lot Mike for this interview!
If you want to see more of Mike’s captivating work, visit be.net/michaelcox