Driving down 131 last week, my son quipped from the backseat, “look momma, a horse,” to which I replied, “there aren’t any horses in the city you silly goose.” He was of course, persistent, as any 3 year old is so I entertained his notion and looked where he was pointing. Sure enough, there was a horse, on the side of a building against this brilliant backdrop of swirling colors. I committed the location to memory and decided that my next interview would be with that artist; I needed to know who was responsible for this beautiful, albeit unfinished piece, and what the impetus behind it was.
Friday night I walked up to the “robot”, as artist Michael Mayosky affectionately calls the device he’s painting on, introduced myself and set up an interview for the following afternoon. Saturday turned out to be a rather gloomy day but with coffee in hand, I met with Mike in the building on Grandville Avenue he has been calling home for the past month. Here is what he had to say:
Me: How did you find out about ArtPrize?
Mike: I had a friend last year that attended Rob Bliss’ event ‘100,000 Paper Airplanes and Melodies Over Monroe’ who called me and said this is something I had to be a part of. I’m a freelance muralist and business has been really slow for the past few years so I figured I would come out and enter ArtPrize.
Me: What was your motivation/what inspired you to create the piece that you’re working on now?
Mike: I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do until I saw the wall. Even now, the piece is an evolutionary process. Creating it is as much a part of it as the finished product. I want it to be clear that it is not complete until I come down off of the lift at 11:59 (it takes a minute to get down from that high up) on the final day. But, that being said, the mural is an allegory, a sort of surreal landscape that includes the elements and the changing of the seasons. The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald will be incorporated into the water portion of the mural and I plan on hiding 11 Calder’s throughout the wall.
Me: How did you come up with the title, ‘Meditation of Life Without Time’?
Mike: I needed a title quickly so I picked a vague one that I could build off of. The theme is like a dream, a dream of Michigan, past and present.
Me: I’ve read that you have done several murals across the United States. Where and what are some of those?
Mike: I’ve done more than 500 murals and pretty much lost count after that. They’re all over; Arizona, many on Route 66, restaurants, bowling alleys, homes, water parks.
Me: What famous artists have influenced you and how?
Mike: I don’t have any formal training, but I enjoy the works of Norman Rockwell and Thomas Hart Benton, in particular. Benton was really popular in the 1930s and was famous for his organic, disproportionate, factory esque paintings. My work is really organic. I don’t project images, I paint from the hip. I do all of my blends with a brush. The short time I spent as a kid in Austin, Texas really provided the inspiration for me to paint. My stepfather, a saxophonist for a band named Asleep at the Wheel, took me to all sorts of shows and was really into the arts. That was a very influential time in my life.
Mike is toying with the idea of an art party the weekend of September 24th and 25th. If all goes as planned, there will be live music, him painting on spinning canvasses, and possibly even a movie playing as well. The movie, entitled ‘Locally Buzzed’, is a film about local breweries.
ArtPrize runs from September 22 through October 10. To vote for Michael Mayosky’s mural, the numbers are, Up:41971, Down:41970. Showing at the Goodspeed Lofts on Grandville.