Joining us for his debut RUN we welcome in UK artist China Mike as he brings us The Hustler. In addition to this extremely limited RUN you can also check out several new original works on paper and more from China Mike, available exclusively right here on 1xRUN. Read on as China Mike breaks down his debut RUN and more . . .
1xRUN: Tell us a little bit about this piece, anything immediate you would like us to highlight about this image?
China Mike: I always formulate the title of a piece based on what I see once it is finished, ‘The Hustler’ was just immediately what popped into my head when I looked at the finished article. I try to choose reference images that look interesting to start with, the finished painting, however, has to convey much more, otherwise it is just a mimic or reproduction, nothing more. I feel like I have captured something else in this image, something –“more.”
1x: We’ve also got a batch of original works here, tell us a bit about those. Are these pieces part of a recent theme, series or show that you had?
China Mike: I’ve been trying to refine my painting style over the last couple of years, borrowing elements from some of my early works and adding in some new techniques and influences. The works you see now are a culmination of that exploration… they are a product of evolution.
1x: What materials were used to create this original piece and when was it created?
China Mike: I work almost exclusively with acrylic & oil pastel these days. I used to work with spray paint a lot and occasionally oil paint, but there is something about the immediacy and pliability of acrylic that really works for me; add oil pastel on top of the acrylic and it just seems to refine things. It was created late last year, I can’t remember the month, I tend to remember by year and period.
1x: Tell us how the idea and execution came about for this image?
China Mike: I often don’t have an idea, my process is reactionary and immediate. I don’t sketch or draw, so every piece, in a way, is just a finished sketch… I’m more about the process than the concept!
1x: How long did each of these images take to create from start to finish?
China Mike: On average I’d say about a week to two weeks, it depends on the piece.
1x: What is unique about this piece compared with your other work?
China Mike: It’s bold and unafraid. There’s no messing about or worrying about the fine detail. It’s a real expression of how I really like to paint and what I like about painting generally.
1x: Why should people buy one of these prints?
China Mike: Because someone else won’t!?
1x: Describe this image in one gut reaction word.
China Mike: Pimpin’.
1x: When did you first start making art? What was your first piece?
China Mike: I must have been about four or five years old. I grew up living on various military bases with my parents so I would draw lot’s of tanks, planes and aircraft carriers. I think it was called ‘KABOOOOOOM, CRASHHHH, TATATATAT!!!!!!…… You’d have to ask my Dad!.
1x: What artists inspired you early on? What artists inspire you now.
China Mike: As a teenager: Dali, Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Peter Blake, Picasso etc…. Now: Adrian Ghenie, Francis Bacon, Phil hale, Daniel Richter…. Stuff. I don’t search out many artists these days, it gets depressing otherwise.
1x: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what? If not then what is your environment like when you work?
China Mike: I like to listen to all sorts when I work, from 60’s psych rock, Funk, Soul to Ambient Electro, Hip Hop and Indie guitar stuff; I don’t really have a favourite artist or genre, though I did listen to a lot of Funkadelic last week. Music is a part of my process for sure!.
1x: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why? Any deceased artists?
China Mike: Adrian Ghenie, because I could learn loads from that guy! Picasso, because I love Spain and because he created some amazing work through some of the most exciting periods in the history of art.
1x: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it? The last?
China Mike: Can’t really afford art, it’s too bloody expensive…I prefer to swap. The f a nice original off Eric Haacht which hangs on my bedroom wall!
1x: The last?
China Mike: ‘The Last Of Us” for the Playstation 4.
1x: Any big shows or events coming up that you’d like to share?
China Mike: Nothing as of yet, but that’s fine by me as I need to expand my pool of work and keep growing.