Monday, June 30, 2008

All About The Bliss...

"I'm a very creative person. I like to express myself. They say sex is an art. I see it that way, just like painting or performing. I can express myself creatively and imaginatively through sex. And believe me, I'm very creative. Very." - Tanya Le Oiep, Modern Dancer

Though I may not be as creative as Tanya in bed (wink wink) I'm totally agreed with her that sex is an art, but at the same time I also believe that art is sex. If not, then every bucket of paint ever laid on canvases would have been a landscape or scenery.

Recently, I've done an exclusive interview with Mike Stead, aka Mike Bliss, a talented British artist who expresses the meaning of life and sex through his paint brush. To learn more about the artist behind such splendid works, read more or continue and enjoy the interview.

PR8: So, Mike Bliss is not your real name. What's this 'Bliss' all about then?
Mike: It's a concept. It's basically what I'm looking for. I'm looking for happiness and contentment and a place to be myself, that's my idea of bliss. My work explores that journey, the beauty and the emptiness.

You are now based in London, but are you a London boy originally?
No. I'm originally from the north of England. My father was in the Army so I spent most of my childhood living all over the world. We spent a few years in London when I was a child and it's always felt like home. Six years ago I got a one way ticket and came to London.

Tell me THREE things that you LOVE and HATE about London.
LOVE: I love the fact I have no idea what will happen from each day to the next. Each day is a new beginning. I love the diversity of London. I've lived all over the world but nowhere compares to London. I love the fact for the first time in my life I have a home and I feel safe.
HATE: I hate the rush hour on the underground! Thank God I get to work from home or I would be a danger to people on the underground LOL. I hate being in cars, the traffic in London is a nightmare. When I'm in friends cars I seriously panic. Some drivers are just insane and cannot understand that they're not the only people on the roads! I hate the fact that relationships of any kind are hard to form and maintain in London. It can be a very lonely city if you allow it to be. It's too easy to lose track of people.

Just being curious, do you have any art or design background before you become an artist?
Yes, I studied fashion in university. I thought it would be the more sensible choice career wise. As it turns out it didn't suit me. I've always drawn and painted for as long as I can remember. I'm addicted to it. It's the only constant in my life.

It's undeniable that your paintings are highly sexy and erotic, but how would you personally describe the nature of your works?
My work is about life from my perspective. I produce a large amount of work that is about love and relationships. A lot of my pieces explore the aftermath of love. The pain that comes when love dies. I know that sometimes that can be hard to see given the colours and subjects I choose to illustrate that emotion. I try to give clues with the expressions on my subject's faces or with the title of each painting. My work is basically a narrative of my life. People who know me can tell what is happening in my life by the work that I produce.

Is there any artist or illustrator who inspired you?
I love the work of Frida Kahlo. The pure emotion and honesty is brea- thtaking. I'm a huge fan of Roy Lichtenstein, of course. I was hugely influenced by animation as a child. Cartoons like 'He-Man' and 'The Simpsons'. I love the simplicity of them.

With all the curvy lines and swirls, I can't help but notice that there's a similarity between your works and the ancient Greek paintings. What say you?
Oh absolutely! Especially the male images. I think it comes through a lot more in my black and white works. I love the strength and beauty of the ancient Greek paintings. Egyptian hieroglyphs have also been a great inspiration.

When people say, "Every painting tells a story." Is this relevant to you?
Oh absolutely! All of my work is self referential. I lay out my hope and fears for the world to see. I paint about loneliness, fear and hope- lessness as well as the beauty and ecstasy of my life. I also paint about hope and love. I try to explore the idea that love doesn't always last forever but it always changes you. Even when I produce a portrait my opinion of the subject is always evident. If I know a certain thing about them it influences the fell of the work.

Okay, let's talk about those men in your paintings. Are they real model?
Oh yeah they are all real! It's a hard job but someone has to do it LOL! I work from photographs, I may change certain features but all my work is based on reality.

They all look damn fine! Where on earth did you find them?
I spend hours a day searching for suitable images. I find them every- where but the internet is a great source of inspiration. I've used your site before and Gaydar is a valuable tool that I use.

If you could pick one man to model for you, who would that be? And please don't tell me it's David Beckham!
It would have to be Will Young. He has the most beautiful smile I have ever seen. It's all about the smile for me.

And will he be clothed or naked? Why?
Naked! But not full frontal. I'd like it to be suggestive rather than blatant. I like the vulnerability of being nude. There is no hiding.

I see you have done a few portraits on Her Madgesty. So, Madonna. Yay or Nay?
YAY YAY YAY! Madonna has been a huge influence on my life. My older brother introduced her to me when she first emerged. I love her drive and determination. I have similar spiritual beliefs. Although I don't follow any specific religion, I believe that if you want the world to be a better place that change has to start with you. If you want people to treat you well, you have to treat them well. Love attracts love and it's the same for hate. I'm a firm believer in forgiveness as well. Revenge is a pointless exercise. If someone hurts you, then hurting them won't make you hurt any less. It just puts more hate into the world and I think there is enough of that already.

Hmm, a very wise answer Mike! Thanks for your time to do this interview with me, it's been a great pleasure to have you here and I wish you the very best and much continued success in your paintings!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great interview! Great artist! My appreciation of the latter can be verified by the fact that I presently have not one but two of his pieces in my permanent ARTIST "DO" author WILLIAM MALTESE collection. He and his work deserve all of the attention and kudos they can get. --William Maltese, author,