Bio – Mike Stuart

My earliest artistic influences were comic art, the Beano, 2000AD and Asterix. I also loved discovering the work of Druillet and Moebius in Metal Hurlant magazine. Childhood visits to National Trust properties and the books on the shelves at home gave me an early taste for classical and neo-classical art. As a teenager, the iconoclasm of punk rock was a big influence that opened up new ways of looking at the world.

I was very lucky to have studied at Goldsmiths with many other artists who went on to become well known, such as Damien Hurst, Sarah Lucas, Angela Bullock and Michael Landy. Sharing ideas and getting inspired by other artists was very beneficial, even though the general trend at the time was towards conceptualism.

When I left college I began to find my own path. Since then I have been free to follow my own inspiration. I withdrew from the commercial art world and stopped exhibiting after a while, resolving to develop my own style rather than follow the prevailing trends. Things have changed lately though, the influence of graffiti and street art, new schools of symbolist and mythic art have widened the public’s appreciation of aesthetics to a more open-minded appreciation of the value of art. So now I feel like it is a good time for me to return to exhibiting and showing my work.

Despite the fact that mythological or fantastic imagery can be seen in my work it is important to me that my work is about real life and the search for meaning in life. If forced to find a genre to put myself in I would have to suggest Mythic Realism. I feel more affinity to the graffiti artists that work in my neighbourhood of Stokes Croft than the hardcore conceptualists who exhibit down the road at the Arnolfini. I don’t think it’s enough merely to be good at drawing, I feel a sort of duty to be good at living, and art to be an expression of that. It’s a life long journey, and there is always room for improvement.

I have been working hard as a web designer for the last ten years, but my main aim now is to paint continuously and develop my art further, I am currently working as an illustrator and web designer with an author to produce an online visual novel, which draws together my experience and skills from both work and art to create something entirely new which will be published here: welcometoblackmountian.com

Education

  • 2002 Foundation in Adult Education Teaching (FAETC)
  • 1999-2000 HNC New Media: City of Bristol College
  • 1985-1988 BA Degree Fine Art: Goldsmiths College, London
  • 1984-1985 Foundation Art and Design: Filton Technical College, Bristol
  • 1977-1982 Cotham Grammar School, Bristol

Exhibitions

  • 1987 The Showroom, Bonner Rd, Bethnal Green
    Mixed show with Sarah Lucas, Grenville Davy & Jill Bradley
  • 1990 FREVD, Shaftesbury Avenue, London
    Solo exhibition
  • 1990 The Thumb gallery, Islington, London
    Solo exhibition
  • 1992 Cooshti Clothing, Colston Avenue, Bristol
    Solo exhibition
  • 2003 The Bristolian Cafe, Picton Street, Bristol
    Solo exhibition
  • 2013 It’s All 2 Much Gallery, 124 Cheltenham Road, Bristol BS6 5RW
    Open Walls mixed show
  • 2013 The View Gallery, 159-161 Hotwell Road, Bristol BS8 4RY
    Summer Salon mixed show
  • 2014 The View Gallery, 159-161 Hotwell Road, Bristol BS8 4RY
    Altered States mixed show