Briefly describe the work you do.
My work deals with a force that moves life. Sometimes it is plant stretching its branches. Sometimes an animal defending its territory. Sometimes a human seeking a calm place to exist in. Whatever it is; it is a ubiquitous yearning, yet intangible. In science, it might be an evolutionary initiation. In religion, a desire to be Godly. It is more like a thirst of possibility – than a thing. My work is a conglomerate of pieces accepting this journey. Myth, illustration, and expression weave into a situation in each work. Each situation involving time, possibility, and ultimately an action.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
I have lived in the city, the countryside, the suburbs, by the beach, in the mountains, in the orient, and around the ancient. The variety of scenery has been great. It seems like the things that did not change, from place to place, have sunk into my work more. Everywhere you go plants are trying to break through concrete. Moss and roots cover the past. Oily water leaks into sewers. No matter where you live, you establish a home. At home, you take on time.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
My studio is traditional in the sense I go in there and paint most of the time. I do have a corner set up for stop-motion animation. I also have a blue screen set up for some puppet work I recently started. It seems like technology is something I keep trying to push out of my studio, but it leaks in. There is no computer in my studio, that is for sure. I try to keep art books on my bookshelf downstairs, so I don’t spill paint on them. And downstairs is where I do all my computer work, like animation and editing.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
When I first started making art, the ideas and involvement where sincere, but shallow. I saw artists as great thinkers, or talented visionaries. I didn’t get a lot of the political importance. I didn’t really get the societal push. Artists do that. I have their records, books, exhibition catalogs and when I partake of an artwork, they fulfill. Those artists have become societal totems.
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
My studio is in my house. I go in at 8am, and get out at 5pm, minus naps and lunch. I work everyday, Monday through Friday. I feel fresh in the morning, and if I know I have all day, I can really get into something.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
Five years ago I was painting mountains and thinking about time. I was into this notion that in our minds we can perceive time in thousands of years and we can see mountains bubbling and breaking up as the earth’s crust grinds its plates. In other words, quite specific imaginative stuff. These days I sketch more, and try to verbalize less. I try to get it all in pictures. I arrange pieces and let a situation happen. Watch for an action, rather than make an action.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
Authors influence me. I read a good bit. Reading is a luxury I cherish. But I don’t read all that much. I listen to records and play video games too. Like Zelda. Link would be my pop icon influence.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
I would probably be a computer programmer. I communicate with the machines well. My little brother and I could develop something. There would always be the dream, no matter what the work. Fortunately, my wife believes in me. And for now she gives me the gift of not having to work, and really letting me focus in the studio. Her support is amazing.
Mikey was born in Alabama, grew up in Georgia, lived in Europe, then Japan, and now is back in the states. He was the second oldest of five children. He got his BA from Georgia Southern University and his MFA in Philadelphia from Penn. Mikey currently lives in the mountains outside of Asheville North Carolina. He lives with his family; a wife, yoko, and two dogs, shiro and rika. He is a full time artist. He likes drinking beer, cooking, and going on hikes with his wife and dogs.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.