Artist Interview: Michael Kent

Who are you and how long have you been an artist?
I am Michael Kent. I have painted ever since I can remember. My father, a talented artist, propped me up in front of an easel, squeezed out some paint and voilà. I’ve been wrestling with the canvas, the tubes and brushes off and on ever since. A few classes in college up in Maine did not hurt.

"Baltimore" by Michael Kent

“Baltimore” by Michael Kent

What medium(s) do you work in & why?
I work mostly in oil. But I like photography, a source of inspiration for the painting. I also write (check out ALL OF THE NIGHT, my 3rd published novel) and play a couple of musical instruments.

What is your creative process like?
Often, as mentioned, photography is the inspiration, a sketch of sorts. Light/dark, mood, narrative, the wish to travel the world, sometimes level of difficulty trigger the process.

"Moustache" by Michael Kent

“Moustache” by Michael Kent

What is the best art-related advice you’ve received?
Best advice: just do it. That’s of course predicated on the idea of an image you become obsessed with, something you have to project out of your system. Going to museums, galleries is very inspiring, stimulating; wanting in a sense to complement and compete.

What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist?
The biggest challenge is sometimes technical. HOW does one reproduce this and that. But over time it’s more finding the right image to paint and then running with it. Setting aside a nook in your schedule too can be complicated.

Choose one piece that you currently have on display at Artomatic and tell the story of that piece:

"Ballet of the Bicycles" by Micheal Kent

“Ballet of the Bicycles” by Micheal Kent

Ballet of the Bicycles, whose title I quite like, is one of the more playful pieces. It fuses two realities connected by the theme found in the title. Suddenly, these two-wheelers transcend their mere utilitarian or sporty quality. Of course it is an involuntary dance linking Porto, its warm tones and ancient buildings to the left, and Dublin, a colder and less built-up reality. Painting, long before trick photography, has lent itself more organically to the allegedly impossible, definitely surrealist juxtaposition. Ballet, like many of my other works, showcases a love of what lies beyond the border, of the near-exotic, a sense of humor too, bridging space and time with reasonably bold colors and design. Also one of my more recent works.

What is your favorite part of the Artomatic experience so far?
My favorite part of the Artomatic experience is discovering a consequential number of fellow artists of all media, a lost family of sorts; sharing stories, challenges; talking to the public, too. I fondly remember coming across my first Artomatic on H Street NW, near Union Station in a wonderful, quirky older structure, not a mere facade. I have participated in two other Artomatics.

What is your website (or other method of contact):
In lieu of a website you can check my paintings album on Flickr:
I am also on Facebook, under Michael G. Kent

You can see more of Michael’s work on display at Artomatic 2015 on the third floor, space 4-045.