Mikey Brain is a London-based visual artist, abstract painter and illustrator. As an abstract painter his work is planned yet spontaneous, combining the contrived and impromptu, developing through experimentation. Mikey’s Illustration and figurative work blends conventional character and figurative techniques with slight abstract tweaks, often-referencing different eras, tribes, races, religions and cultures within the same piece of work. Mikey’s Art is informed by his deep interests in the timeless themes that link the earliest of human tribes to modern man, such as; love, ritual, violence, sex, mortality, morbidity, and faith/spirituality. These topics are embodied in his works’ subversive attitude toward mainstream taboo and consensus.
Mikey spends a considerable amount of time in Ibiza, and is often found painting live on Wednesdays for Paradise at the legendary DC10 nightclub, painting murals and creating bespoke landscape art in villa’s across the island. Mikey is also a regular collaborator with the Hot Creations record Label, creating their unique, weird and wonderful EP designs.
Exhibiting in London,Rome, Leeds, Ibiza and Birmingham he has participated in live art battles, illustrated for various record labels, provided live art experiences for festivals, events and live music shows and has created a bespoke hotel room in Ibiza.
1. Which piece of art are you most proud of and why?
I'm probably most proud of a large mural I did in Rome at the end of last year. Its at La Botte Beer House in Trastevere, which is such a cool part of Rome. It is in an old curved wall building, and as you walk in the piece towers above your head. It was a challenge to paint due to the curved old medieval style wall it was painted on.
2. Describe your workspace / studio… help us visualise it.
I am fortunate enough to have a large open living room with lots of natural light that I currently use as a workspace. I have an abundance of art books for reference and my favourite sofa for illustrating on. For bigger pieces I get my easel out. I have had studio spaces away from home in the past, but I find myself more productive if my studio is in my own house, as I can act on idea when they are conceived.
3. Where would you say your creativity comes from?
I view the world like a giant Roscharch test, and can see weird, wonderful, beautiful, ugly and sometimes horrific imagery within the fabric of everyday life, hidden. I am also a massive art fan, and enjoy being inspired by other artists old and new on a daily basis.
4. What would be your top tip to other artists wanting to be part of Artogi in relation to their Art?
Stay productive, keep creating and always challenge yourself.
5. What's your inspiration for your Artogi collection?
The golden goddess work; I am fascinated by Graham Hancocks unconventional yet romantic theory that a 10,000 year old tribe is the source of all civilization. I like to paint this mythical 'global tribe' with its possible rituals and deities.
These characters reference to South American tribes (tattoos) African/Egyptian tribes (piercing, tattoos and symbolism) Native American tribes (face paint and feathers) ancient Druids (daisies) catholic Byzantine relics (golden decorative halo) whilst adopting Asian features and holding an eastern mystic pose.
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of fertility, love, beauty, pleasure and procreation - she is known as Venus in Roman mythology and is also represented by the planet in our local solar system. She is also thought to be similar to oriental and indo-european and Vedic deities with similarities in myth but differences in name. The notion of a fertility goddess is shared amongst most ancient civilisations, taking different names and images in each but sharing a similar purpose. I like to imagine if there was a 10,000 year old tribe, they would have praised this goddess. In a nutshell the pieces symbolize female power and the notion of a global tribe!
The pattern based pieces - as above; The patterns I will complete this week and will be my infinity pattern. It is a visual depiction of staring into two mirrors opposite each other - a feed back loop - glimpsing into the infinite.
7. What have you been up to in the last 12 months?
I lived in Ibiza last Summer painting at DC 10 and Destino Pacha resort live, creating art installations for Paradise and painting Murals across the island. Since then I have done commissions in Rome, then back to London and concentrated on illustration work and a forthcoming exhibition.