Check Out This Acid Blend of Dreamscapes and Graffiti American artist Michael Page’s work is a playful, dominant spread of bright colours, bold brush strokes and bizarre scenarios that bring pep and spice to the medium of acrylic and oil painting. His newest work, which he’s shared with us below, reflects the mature hand of a developed artist who’s shifting his inspiration to the figures and footloose fun of his children. Michael works full time as an artist in San Francisco, but has felt the tug of artistic production in some form for his entire life; twelve years ago, this self-taught passion grew into a focus on acrylic and oil painting under the new influences of fatherhood. But Michael’s influences are many and changing; his original influences of “skateboarding and graffiti” are visible still in the stylised compositions and acid colour ways of this newer set of pieces. “I realized that I loved being alone in the studio for hours on end creating paintings, rather then doing my day job.” His style has been shaped more by the friends and artists he’s shared his studios with over the years than it has been by formal training, and the result is a devilishly individual signature style that has seen Michael’s work shown all over the world. TP: What do you prefer about painting, compared with your digital work? MP: There really is no comparison, nothing can compete with the feeling of wet paint on a brush. I still get into the creative zone when I am working on digital art, but not for nearly as long, and there are also the issues of my eyes getting burned out from the computer screen. TP: So the complications of working digitally put limits on your art? MP: There is just something so basic and tribal about painting, feeling the movement of your hand while holding a brush. TP: What inspires you to start a new painting? MP: I generally sit back and think about what I haven’t painted before, and what is the most prevalent issue in my everyday life. Those are my main starting points. I will then glance back at past work that I have done and see what inspires me from those. Drawing out little sketches and writing down notes, filling up sketchbooks is always part of the process. TP: Could you talk us through the figures in your paintings? MP: These are my kids during different moments in their lives. I was trying to capture the many facets of who they are as children. TP: What influences your choice of colour? MP: I live near the ocean, so color is everywhere I look; that’s my main inspiration for color, and for subject matter. I also wanted to get away from the more somber tones I was using and just brighten everything up. TP: So what about the colours you’ve used here? MP: I feel that the exploding bright colors in this new body of work had to represent what I felt as a parent, and the joy that kids have and bring with their freedom of youth. I do think it is a development in my style; I like to change things up as often as I can, and I try to not stay stagnant with my work. That includes my use of color. TP: What paints do you use for this? MP: For my acrylic paints, I use Holbein; with my oils I like Blockx and Williamsburg. You can add thin layers to build up some really great tones. TP: So does it take a while to work on these pieces? MP: I glaze so many layers on my paintings that my drying times tend to be somewhat long, so I try to have eight to ten paintings that I work on at a single time. It could take up to a year to finally finish a piece, but that is with many long breaks in between each one. TP: So what’s next for you? MP: Just keep painting, and doing the Dad life.