Who is Mike the MC? What does he sound, and feel like?
Art appreciator, web weaver, creative conduit... I am a man of many hats! I have found my path supporting artists over the years, working for creatives in a multitude of mediums and taking the reins on a variety of tasks that allow them to focus on what matters: THE ART. I sound comfortable, calm, and collected. I hope my aura feels warm and welcoming.
How far back do you and Phil go?
I first ran into Phil some time around 2012. He was putting his artwork on the chalkboard menu of my favorite dispensary, Boulder Kind Care (RIP). I had seen his work around town at other spots, including my favorite head shop The Fitter, and a favorite restaurant called Foolish Craigs. I would say hi whenever I saw him out and about or at the Boulder Creek Festival. After a hiatus in the world of artist representation, I went to Burning Man in 2015 and felt the spark to work with artists again. That winter, I helped a friend source a piece of art from Phil as a gift for his parents. When communicating with Phil I mentioned my experience and interest in working with him. By March of 2016, I became his first official studio/gallery employee, and the rest is history!
One specific memory I love is from Arise Festival in 2017 - we took a break from working the booth, and walked up to an art car called The Giving Tree right as they closed it to the public... always trying to push Phil out of his comfort zone and remind him to play, I asked my friend who was part of their crew if we could have an exception. I introduced Phil, and since he was a headlining artists, they obliged and let us climb around the car and enjoy a Clozee set from within the "limbs" of the magical machine!
You’re an artist yourself. Tell us about your style and influences?
Art is my life, and my life is my art-form... the world in front of me is my canvas; my experiences are my tools, and the environment is my medium. I paint a more beautiful and positive world for myself and those who I interact with. My mission is to empower and support artists. Coming from a film background, I use the lens to frame and capture the beauty that surrounds us, both in stills and motion. I currently create what I consider "music videos" of artists' creative processes, to help showcase and add value to their finished works that I release under my gallery platform MAD House Art.
I am influenced creatively by many people, things, places, and mindsets. I found legendary painter Alex Grey through the band Tool, and Mars-1 in a magazine called "Juxtapoz" at the end of my high school years, and dove into the psychedelic worlds they revealed. I love color, movement, and emotion transmuted into visual wonders. I love to get out in nature and let the raw and unedited beauty of Mother Earth direct my creativity. I am constantly checking out a variety of styles of art, but primarily resonate with "visionary" and contemporary psychedelic abstract works. Seeing imaginative worlds that have never been depicted inspires me to push forward into the unknown and unexplored territories of the imagination.
What about Phil’s process and art initially inspired you? Do elements of his work exist in your life or art?
Phil has a way of capturing the universal flow... His art exemplifies the connection we all share through nature. He had captured some local sites from Boulder in a way that I had never seen before, making me feel more at home in the city than ever! After our first interactions, I could tell he was tapped into something greater than all of us and I wanted to be a part of it. His positive energy radiates from the art he creates. The vivid color palettes he uses make me feel alive and well. Learning about his processes combining organic, hand drawn elements with the latest and greatest that Photoshop and other digital technologies have to offer truly blew me away! I had been fiddling around with graphic design for years with other artists, and the way he fuses traditional art practices with cutting edge technologies really made an impact on me.
There are elements of his work that exist in my life, both in the processes and in the finished images. I find that I especially connect with original artwork, something you know the artist laid their own hands on and put energy and time into. I feel like he has carefully weaved this into the digital realm, something that most digital work lacks. I am also one who appreciates the technologies at our disposal and believes these tools can help humanity move forward, but like to stay connected with the natural world as well. I enjoy seeing Phil's renditions of many familiar destinations and animals because it reminds me to see things from your own unique perspective and think outside of the box.
How can we keep tabs on you?
Come see me in person on Fridays and Saturdays at Phil's gallery here in Boulder for the full Mike experience! You'll be hearing and seeing a lot more of my voice as I take the reins on Phil's social media accounts. In addition, you can find my online art gallery on Instagram @mad.house_art.