This month dot-art speaks to local artist Mike Goodwin.
Mike describes his work as a mixture of realism and stylised caricature, his earliest artistic influences were the great comic artists of publications ‘The Dandy’ and ‘The Beano’, notably Dudley D Watkins and Leo Baxendale.
Which medium do you work with and how would you describe your work?
Pen and ink historically, but I’m moving into painting – acrylics. I’m looking forward to really laying on the paint quite thickly. I like that it’s not as precise as my pen work, so I can paint more freely and make mistakes, which you can’t really do with pen and ink.
Up until fairly recently, I have employed quite a detailed graphic illustration style. I usually do something humorous and quirky and use a lot of text. I like to mix text with images.
I will be using lots of colour in my painting from now on, but will probably still aim for something a little off-beat.
Can you talk us through your process? Do you begin with a sketch, or do you just go straight in? How long do you spend on one piece? How do you know when it is finished?
I usually begin with a title, maybe a song title that inspires me, or a funny caption that I can work up into a suitable image. With my pen work, I will usually do a rough sketch to position the characters at the scene. I don’t have a lot of experience as a painter, but I will probably map it out roughly then start laying on the paint.
My pen and ink drawings often take weeks to complete. I’m not a fast worker and tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, so I can be quite patient in order to get it right (in my eyes). I’ve only done a couple of paintings over the years. The painting I have just (almost) finished took me roughly 40 years, but I hope to work faster in the future!
When did you begin your career in art?
I have always liked to draw, but not constantly. Come to think about it, I really only ever draw when I’m starting a new picture.
Who or what inspires your art?
I get inspired by all sorts of things; old songs, old black and white films, Old Mother Riley – ‘old’ tends to feature a lot!
Why is art and creativity so important to you?
Being creative, artistically or musically, gives me something to aim for. When I finish a picture or write a song (which is also very infrequent), I feel as if I’ve accomplished something great – and have something to show for my efforts.
I also think that you don’t need to be particularly talented to do either of those two things. Sometimes it just takes perseverance to produce something good. It helps if you can think outside the box and never settle for mediocrity.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on the painting that I’ve been working on for 40 years, I can’t actually remember exactly when I started it, but it was probably around 1980! I painted a sailor, in a pointillist style, but then I got stuck on his girlfriend (not literally). I just couldn’t get it right and I left it for many years, until fairly recently.
I photographed what I had and then started to rework it in Photoshop. This digital image showed two figures, the sailor and a girl. Then I went back to my canvas and used the digital image as inspiration for the painting.
As the canvas was landscape, I was left with a big empty space on the left of the painting. However, this allowed me to invent a different narrative, and I added a second female character. By this time I had abandoned the pointillist style, so the painting is a mish-mash of styles. I also left some room in the top left-hand corner to allow me to add some neon-lit text at a later stage, this is something I am currently investigating!