INTERVIEW WITH HYPERREALISM PAINTER MIKE DARGAS
03 · 18 · 2016
Meet German Artist Mike Dargas
Before your realism works - what style of artwork did you practice? and What was the reason for the transition into realism?
I started painting as a child and was inspired by the Old Masters at first. At the age of 7/8 I started using oil colors, worked on my technique and tried to improve the quality of each piece until today. I look up to artists like Dalì, Caravaggio and HR Giga and can express myself best with realistic oil paintings.
How has your popularity in the tattoo-art scene influenced your fine-art practices?
It is great to earn respect and to be appreciated for your work but I was never driven by popularity. Being a tattoo artist mainly gave me the chance to enhance my portrait skills and perfecting little details.
Who are your muses, the subjects of your paintings? What is it about these people that makes you want to paint them?
I am inspired by peoples faces and am not limited to a certain type. My artistic view is attracted by certain very subjective facial characteristics.
What do you hope to capture about your subjects in your painting of them?
The obvious part is a very delightful and beautiful sensuality. The deeper meaning actually focusses more on the single materials than on the models. For instance I used honey as a symbol for gold. I leave it up to the viewer to see beauty or a deeper meaning behind my works. You don´t need the idea of the artist to like a realistic art work.
What is the driving idea behind your artwork?
The main idea behind the current creative period is actually based on the scarcity of resources caused by the unlimited wants of a growing population and expanding economic countries. A very serious issue of today’s society. Millions suffer because of economical interests. Mainly affected are raw materials like fresh water, mineral energy sources, scarce minerals and others. In my works boundaries of the two counterparts, disproportion and consumption, are blurred. So the current series started as an inner grappling.
What do you think has been your greatest challenge as an artist? What has been the most challenging piece?
I guess nearly every artist will tell you it is always the upcoming work that is most challenging. Starting from zero, a blank canvas, again and again, brings the challenge to always be better than you have been before. I still want to improve my works with every piece I finish. The challenge is to look forward and not to compare earlier works with new ones.
What about your greatest reward / most rewarding piece?
The most rewarding pieces are the ones that contain something new. It is easy to continue a successful series but it needs courage to leave the "safe path“.
Roughly how many hours do you spend on each piece? What motivates you keep your focus during this time?
I work on several pieces simultaneously to stay focussed on details. It takes several weeks to finish a work.
Can you explain to me your creative process? From an idea, to a subject, to dripping honey, to taking a photograph, to the brush hitting the canvas - what is your artistic process?
Photography is an important tool I use before painting. I started taking photographies of my models when my motifs became more complex. I love to work on reflections, liquids and materiality. Also I adopt photographic characteristics and play with the diffusiveness of the focus. It ́s exciting to combine photography and oil paintings.
The artistic process in general is very playful. I have an idea for a while and someday, during a photo shoot, I try to express it playfully. Using honey for instance or other liquids on models can be really funny, you can´t really control it. So the shooting is more like an experiment. After the photo session I start painting in my studio for hours and days.
What have been some of the most influential experiences in your life?
An important experience was being an entrepreneur for 14 years in my tattoo studio, trying to combine passion and business until I decided to become a full-time artist and only focus on my art.
What do you see for yourself next?
I wish to exhibit on every continent. So I work on new exhibitions and gallery collaborations.
Any further statements that you'd like to make?
Always choose passion over business!