Featured Artist: Mike Bell

Age: 52

Hometown: Atlantic City NJ

Current town:  Northfield, NJ

Job description:  Artist

CONTEMPLATIVE COCKTAIL
CONTEMPLATIVE COCKTAIL

Upcoming projects:  Larger scale Black & white twisted portraits

Select links: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/3832468/Artists-striking-portraits.html

What are you working on/ describe your work.  I paint the juxtaposition of iconic pop culture subjects combined with modern day situations and elements. The result is predominately figurative with a somewhat humorous narrative. Lowbrow is the genre used most often but pop surrealism, narrative noir, underground and outsider art is also used. A wide variety of twentieth century underground, fringe, retro, and outsider subcultures are big influences. I draw upon a rich well of imagery from my youth to compose my paintings. Images from pinups, hot rods, monster movies, sci-fi, cartoons, toys, tiki and tattoos all help to define my work.

What’s your art background / when did you begin really focusing on art? After college I worked in advertising for 24 years… started out as a graphic designer rose up to a Creative Director. Got laid off when the economy turned to shit about 3 years ago. That’s when I got serious about my art.

MADE FOR EACH OTHER
MADE FOR EACH OTHER

What’s been happening in your life/ what’s next for you? Lots of group shows lined up, a couple of solo shows. A series of commissions… A line of t-shirts. Continue to enjoy making art.

Describe your current state of mind / what’s inspiring you? I am very positive about my work  and my future. I have totally enjoyed being out of the corporate world and doing what I love most. I feel very fortunate that people are enjoying my art. I am continuously inspired by all things pop culture…design, toys, tv, movies, music, surf, hotrod and Sci Fi.

THE WEDDING
THE WEDDING

Any exhibits coming up/ past exhibits you’d like to mention?

Group shows…423 Gallery, Los Angeles. LTD Gallery, Seattle. Hero Complex Gallery, Eugene,OR. Arch Enemy Gallery, Philadelphia. Bottleneck Gallery, AC Country Club, Atlantic City

SOLO Show: Black Vulture gallery, Philadelphia

Is any of your work political? Not many pieces… I have included some political figures in my work, such as Hitler and Nixon. But I end up using them more for their iconic presence than their political views.

MARILYN ON THE BOARDWALK
MARILYN ON THE BOARDWALK

What is one of the biggest challenges you face as an artist? Taking chances with art. Painting something challenging and out of my comfort zone. Digging deeper. Constantly learning and improving my skills…

Has the meaning of your work changed over time? Evolved more than changed…

ASTRO COMES OF AGE
ASTRO COMES OF AGE

What are you listening to these days? Nick Cave, The Clash, Tom Waits, Social Distortion, The Tragically Hip, Bowie, The Bambi Molesters.

What are a few of your favorite spots in NJ? The beach and my hammock.

What is your ideal job? I’m doing it!

Favorite artists and why/ people in your field whom you most admire: Drew Struzan, best poster  artist of all time, his technique is inspirational. Glenn Barr, his style is so simple yet so rich. Sabastian Kruger, his portraits are unmatched. Todd Schorr, his subject matter, composition and attention to detail is crazy. Coop, his work is so strong, bold and powerful.

A TOASTŠ TO THE CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT
A TOAST TO THE CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT

What are you reading? 11.22.63 by Steven King

Favorite authors, fiction:  Stephen King, Dean Koontz

What was the first piece of artwork you bought/ do you buy a lot of artwork? I have a Glenn Barr piece, a Frank Kozik, Drew Struzan and a couple of Coop’s posters.

Your website(s): Www.belldogstudio.com

CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF
CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF
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