The work of Mike O'Day is filled with wonder, curiousity and joy. ARTspot has a number of his little creations on display at the store, and from time to time we even get him in to teach a class! Discover more about Mike and his art at his website: http://odayart.com
An Interview with Mike
We love having a menagerie of Mike O’Day’s whimsical critters at ARTspot! Mike is a prolific, award-winning artist, and a true gem of the Edmonds art community. I recently had the privilege of shooting the breeze with him about inspirations, influences and the thrills of originality.
– Scott Burnett
Scott: What is the most important material you use to make your art?
Scott: Wow, it must feel good to be able to give such a direct and elemental answer! What techniques have you developed that have proven to be essential to your art-making process?
Mike: Mostly, I sculpt solid instead of using slabs or coils. Once the piece is refined, it is cut into sections, hollowed out, and then reattached.
Scott: What is your favorite art-tool at this time?
Mike: I have dozens of clay tools, but most of my sculpture is done with a needle tool, a few loop tools, and a few wooden and rubber tools.
Scott: How you approach glazing?
Mike: If the sculpture is going outdoors, it is glazed. Indoor pieces are under glazed, or painted with acrylics, oils and stains.
Scott: Where do you find your inspiration?
Mike: Music lyrics, phrases, movies, illustration, photography. Any source that catches my attention. If I only focused on sculpture, it would be difficult to develop my own style.
Scott: Is there a particular song lyric that's working on you right now?
Mike: I have pages of John Prine lyrics that I would love to base a number of sculptures on. One sculpture I’ve finished is based on his lyric “…and if the wind should blow just right, she could be in my arms tonight”. It’s a story about a guy with a crush on his apartment neighbor and the possibility of their laundry getting entangled on a clothesline. Great visual!
Scott: Who is influencing you right now?
Mike: Creative geniuses such as Dr. Seuss, Dale Chihuly, John Prine, Nick Park, Tim Burton, Maurice Sendak. Anybody that looks at the world in their own peculiar way, and runs their art through their own original filter.
Scott: How would you describe an "original filter"?
Mike: An original filter is soaking up any source that moves you, shaking it up, and spitting it out in your own way. When an artist can be identified by his or her work, without becoming stale or predictable, they have arrived.
Scott: Do you think originality has essential attributes?
Mike: The essential attributes to originality? Curiosity and hard work.
Scott: Would you say that you value whimsy? There's a lightheartedness about your creations. But there's also sometimes a shadow -- a hint of foreboding. Are you trying to make people smile and squirm simultaneously?
Mike: Whimsy, quirky, odd, yes I love that avenue of art! I do get surprised when people ask if I have disturbing dreams when my creatures aren’t really menacing (in my opinion…). They’re fairly innocent looking, but then again, they can have sharp horns and teeth.
Scott: How would you describe the art you’ve chosen to bring into your living space? What would you love to add to your collection?
Mike: If I was given "Guernica" as a gift, I suppose I would accept it (although I wouldn't have room for it). Life can be difficult at times, so I lean toward more colorful, quirky artwork. I love quirkiness without crossing the line into cuteness or goofiness if that makes any sense. How about a Janis Mars Wunderlich sculpture for Christmas?
Discover more about Mike and his art at his website: http://odayart.com