At a parents meeting in 1969 when I was eight years old, my junior school teacher Mrs.Knight asked my parents a searching question - Is anyone in your family artistic? Although intrigued they both could not recall anyone on either side of my family ever having any artistic ability and so could not throw light on why my teacher thought I had a creative streak. It is still a mystery to this day.
Although I was very average at most school subjects I relished the chance to paint and draw in the art classes. At a time when most teachers and pupils didnt take art classes very seriously I would arrive early for the lesson and make sure everyone had paper and pencils ready and all the powder paints were topped up and ready to go. This was so no painting time was wasted with children mucking around and I could enjoy a full afternoon being creative.
After leaving school I worked as a fork lift truck driver for 10 years. During this time I worked part time as a freelance card designer with major publishing companies until I finally had the confidence to go full time in 1990.
With only a certain amount of ability and being completely self taught I am proud to say that I have just celebrated my 20th year as a full time professional artist. In that time I have worked and exhibited in New York, designed figurines in Thailand and ceramics for Wedgwood featuring one of my teddy bear characters.
I hope that this inspires others never to give up when times get tough and my story proves you really can make your dreams come true.
Hound Heads -
One of Michael is renowned series of paintings, the Hound Heads feature people with hound heads in place of their own. Theses images include whimsical, intriguing, and often powerful messages behind their pops of vibrant colour, giving a dream like quality. Adding complex psychological dimensions give an unnatural presence to the work that can be interpreted in many ways. A number of Hound head images contain humour and a more pop art visual appeal, especially the Hounds of London in which the bowler hatted hounds are seen interacting in everyday situations in or around the capital. The juxtaposition of the Hound head characters in the real world gives their expressionless faces an innocence and vunerability which is both appealing and mysterious.
The Wanderer -
This series of paintings features a man Michael has christened The Wanderer. The Wanderer is a mysterious character who roams the countryside with his dog. Although the countryside is painted in rich hues of colour, I try to evoke a feeling of solitude and capture a moment in the wanderers life, adding a deep sense of atmosphere to the paintings.
There is not a definitive back story to the character, Michael would like the viewer to make their own mind up as to why he is there. Who is he, what is he searching for, where has he come from and where is he going?