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Mikey Yates
Self-Portrait

collage & oil paint
12″ x 12″

@mikey_yates
USA

Lauryn Welch, Painter & Performance Artist

Lauryn Welch
Teaching Assistant
Painter & Performance Artist

Artist Statement
“This painting is based on the feeling of being neither here nor there, in a constant limbo state between countries and nationalities. As the son of a Filipino immigrant mother and an American military father, I’m accustomed to the cyclical relocation process, leaving countries before planting roots.

The collage of airplane tickets, maps, family photos etc.,  represent the travel and constant flux of my life, while the abstract and impasto mark making symbolize chaos and the struggle to understand my new environments. The half rendered self portrait represents a ‘loading’ symbol for an undeveloped sense of the relationship between my surroundings and myself.”

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5 responses on "Mikey Yates"

  1. Profile photo of Casey Roonan

    Wow, this piece shows such a wonderfully array of techniques! I love that you’re not only experimenting with a combination of figurative and abstract marks, but also using them together to create a real sense of depth.

    This is certainly a painting that is very striking on it’s own, but reading your artist statement I couldn’t help but wish that this personal narrative was made a bit more explicit in the work, itself… You refer to the “cyclical process” of relocation, but I’d love to see this represented in your mark-making – whether it’s in more circular brush-strokes, or a pattern of some sort. The idea of movement is extremely present in this piece, but I also want to see this disorientating repetition reflected in your process!

    It’s really exciting to see someone tackle such a personal topic with such a creative and ambitious approach. I hope you make more work exploring these themes and this truly impressive, layered technique!

  2. Profile photo of Alexander Rowe

    I love the little moments in this piece that are just so powerful! The dashes of red paint below the cheek are really nice surprises after I was already sucked into a visually arresting piece. The levels to which this painting appeals to the viewers is really nice: technique, subject, form – great work!

    I’d like to see it pushed more in contrast – right now the colors are doing all the heavy lifting. If you take a picture of this and convert it to gray scale, you’ll see that the face has some great contrast but a lot of the background around it blends together a bit. If you incorporate some more variation not just in color but value, I think that could really take this atmosphere to the next level!

    And flip side of the coin for the tickets collaged into the painting: I don’t think they need to be there at all. They help translate your specific narrative, but the visuals alone tell me about the concept of being neither here nor there – I don’t need to see the tickets as well.

    Great work on this one!

  3. Profile photo of Deepti Menon

    Your ability to be so delicate and controlled with the paint, while also bring super gestural and free makes me think about how you could incorporate the same versatility with your collage process. I could imagine you ripping pieces and placing them over the figure, treating it very similarly to how you’re treating the paint.

    Right now, the collage is very subtle and hard to notice. This would work much better if you have some more prominent pieces of these tickets, or photos, so that we are clued in to what those are and what they may represent. This will give us a little more understanding and draw our attention to this element, and then we’ll be able to have these little moments of gratification by discovering the more subtle pieces in the background.

    I also wanted to note that at first I thought the figure in the image was wearing an astronaut’s helmet. I don’t know if this is intentional at all, but I thought that actually tied in a bit with the idea of being in a constant limbo.

    I’m really impressed by your painting technique and subject matter, and I think with a little more attention to the collage element, you could take this exciting piece even further!

  4. Profile photo of Clara Lieu

    This painting really shows your versatility as a painter, the face feels very concrete and solid as a form, but then you’re also willing to be very aggressive and spontaneous with the energetic marks that surround the figure.

    I would recommend making the airplane tickets, maps that you collaged into the piece much more prominent. Right now the painting part of this piece is really dominant, I didn’t really notice the collage element until I read your statement.

    I really enjoyed reading your statement about growing up, there are very powerful themes in your story that I would love to see more in the piece. I also think it’s important that we are able to recognize that the collage is a plane ticket, right now we can tell there is text, but we can’t tell where the text is from. The specificity of a plane ticket is terrific, but it needs to be emphasized more in the piece.

    Really exciting work, there’s so much depth and emotion to your story, and it’s wonderful to see you experimenting with your media to express that!

  5. Profile photo of Annie Irwin

    I absolutely love the idea of creating your own “canvas” from things that are so personal to your experience. I almost wish there was even more integration of the content of those tickets, maps, etc. within the painting. perhaps even if within the portrait, which is beautiful by the way, parts of the maps and tickets could come through to imply that these items are integral to the person depicted in the portrait. Could be fascinating to explore, beautiful work!

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