A Thousand Words.


It’s widely accepted that a picture paints a thousand words, right?

…So, for the week, I’m going to let the pictures do the talking. Especially since my last couple of posts have been word-heavy.

Check back every day this week for the next photograph.

Great Value! This week’s feature also comes with a bonus post…

“Exploration and Discovery; The Final piece and Exhibition” 

Check back midweek. Ish.

Mike =]


Lead Balloon.


I’m going off on another creative tangent. I’ve decided to have a go at designing T-shirts, under the brand, Lead Balloon. Hopefully, it’ll give me an avenue for showcasing my graphics-based and more goofy efforts, and provide a nice change of pace from taking mellowed out Black and Whites.

From the Facebook page:

“A stupid clothing brand. Hand-printed. Lovingly designed and crafted. Each item is a one-off!


Lead Balloon. Goofy, yet stylish T-shirt design.
We’d like to think we combine the best of both worlds, mashing together hip-hop(ish) styling and a punk ethos, and meeting half-way between graffiti and comic-book aesthetics.
We strongly believe in DIY high quality products. All T-shirts will be hand printed, making each print a one-off, and that little bit more special. 
This will be a labour of love. We love every single one of you.
A stupid, friendly, clothing brand.”

I’m also looking forward to getting to grips with a new medium; Screen Printing!

Let me know what you think, I’ll be sure to keep you updated on designs and more!

LOST In My Own Back Yard. The Book.

Before I start rambling about my final piece, I’d like to tell you a scary tale….

It was an oddly sunny Saturday morning, considering British weather. But the sunshine was no cause for celebration. I didn’t know it yet, but this was going to be a very stressful day.  I was happily posting the weekend newspapers through letterboxes, when my mind drifted to the looming moderation date for all of this years art coursework and exam work. Up until that day, everything had fallen into place quite nicely; I managed to get my sketchbook completed. Kind of. I got all of my exam piece finished. All of my test pieces, doodles, research and planing. My animation. Everything was running smooth. More than, in fact. I had proved to myself that I could get the work done, and that I hadn’t wasted my time studying art. In the 4 weeks prior, I had learned more about art, and myself than I ever expected. There was a tremendous amount of comfort and reassurance in realisation.

I was blissfully ignorant of the fact that one piece of the puzzle was missing.

Hang on. Photobook. That’s it.All I need to do is have a final check through, and send it off to print. It’ll arrive in a couple of days. Problem solved. Arriving home,  I booted up the computer, patiently waiting for everything to load up as a gentle whirring and humming came from the computer, under the desk, as normal. I decided to double check Blurb’s shipping and printing FAQ’s and information.  The whirring and humming was not so gentle now. Everything around me started to spiral.

Note: Please allow approximately 6 business days to print your book prior to shipping.”

It was the 18th of June. Moderation was taking place on the 27th. Considering shipping times of 1-3 business days at a minimum, it was now an impossible situation. I scurried round help forums and contacted customer support (who cleverly avoid letting you phone them – a contact number is nowhere to be found). I felt sick. Even with the express delivery, there was just no way that my book would make it in time. I sent an email to customer support, asking if there was any chance at all of knowing whether it was possible to receive my book on time. Unsurprisingly, I was told that printing is done by a third party, and that there is no way for individual orders to be bumped up the queue, even if it is just one book. One thing that was surprising was the incredibly friendly and human response that I got from my query. In a last-ditch effort, I went ahead and ordered my book, and this was before receiving any answers from customer support. There was a hope that it might arrive by the morning of the 27th, but it was still a long shot.

I’d blown it. The best part of a year’s work would not count for anything, after all. Because I’d convinced myself the moderation date was a long way away, that I still had room for maneuver. My procrastination tendencies had got the better of me, with what looked like devastating effects to follow. The best part was, no-one was at home to help me. I was just staring at the screen, screaming on the inside.

By the evening, I had a back-and-forth email conversation with a member of customer support, and my parents had calmed me down, just about. I was told that if I emailed back the following Thursday, I could get a status report on my book. Good news.

Thursday arrived, and I started up the whirring and humming again, ready to send an email. For a brief moment I was reminded that I was not out of the mud yet. A phone call, from school. Panic had spread to my teachers. They desperately needed my personal statement (which was contained in the photobook). On top of that, I needed to get 3 of my photos printed to use as a final display of my coursework. Great.

Luckily the prints wouldn’t be a problem. They’d just arrive at school on the Monday morning. Cutting it fine.

Phone call over, I went back to send an email back to customer support, and to my surprise, an automated email was already waiting for me in my inbox. A smirk made its way across my face. I clicked. The smirk changed to a smile. My book had not only been printed, but it was in the final stage of shipping, from the nearest UPS depot. It would be with me by the end of the day. I couldn’t believe it, or contain it. I rang my teacher straight back to let them know.

It took less than 4 working days to receive my book. I could take it into school before the weekend.

Moderation day came, books, prints, paintings all present.

This tale ends with a ” happily ever after”, and lessons learned.

A massive thank-you goes out to everyone that kept me sane, Blurb  for awesome service from the start of making my book to it arriving on my doorstep – and the amazing quality of the finished product. Exceeded my expectations. Thank-you also to Fabio Art for the amazing print job, and dealing with my order with such late notice. I didn’t go for an acrylic print, but they look incredible if you ever want / need something printing! Definitely check them out. Thank-you to all of my teachers for an overwhelming amount of patience and understanding.  And finally, thankyou to my family and my parents for helping me through all of this year – as well as with the book.


EDIT: You can check out my book, here.

Stay cool, stay tuned.

Mike =]

P.S.  I’ve also been writing for OMM. Check out my latest post here. Let me know what you think!

Long time no post. Sorry.

For anyone who does keep an eye on this site, I apologise. I got several weeks into “postaweek2011” and well, stopped. Sorry there hasn’t been a post explaining why, until now…

A few things have happened since my last post – and I’ve felt pretty bad for not posting. The first thing was that I missed a week, and thought it’d be no big problem – I’d just catch up and do two the next week. Unfortunately this kept happening. I really wanted to post something thoughtful and interesting – something enjoyable for you as much as me – instead of waiting until the end of the week and rushing a post for the sake of keeping post-a-week. I felt like the last couple of posts have been half-hearted – so sorry for that – too.

Around about the last time I posted I also got distracted by starting to blog for another site, and setting up a new blog for myself – neither of which I’ve really kept up with, as I’ll explain shortly. Our Music Movement is a very cool project which I’m glad to be a part of after following their Facebook page for a few months. If you like discovering new music to listen to across different corners of the music world, you should definitely check out OMM here, here, and here. Whatever floats your musical boats, so to speak. The other site I laid out was mikelikesmusic, an extension of mikelikesart. It’s not up and running yet, but it may well be over summer.

My motives behind starting mikelikesmusic are key to putting this site on the back-burners. I’ve realised over the past couple of months, first and foremost, I am a musician, more than an artist. I realised I can and do spend longer making music than painting and drawing, and I get so much more of a buzz from music than I have done from art. Don’t worry – art is still fascinating to me, and I’ll still be making photographs and paintings. (In fact, I’ve effectively just finished my A-level in art, so there are some interesting posts to follow, hopefully in the beginning of July…)

I think in a lot of ways, I used art to sidestep from music as I hit a wall last summer, starting to doubt what I was doing musically, becoming creatively frustrated and stalled. In a way, art has been the real distraction this whole time. Composing and just playing is where I feel most at home. Although you could say it’s a bit morbid, given the choice I could lose my eyesight, but not my hearing… Despite this, I think I’ll continue to jump between art / photography and music, as I really do love both, both in practice and in following others’ work. It was just a scary realisation.

Another small thing that got in the way of posting was school. (Another scary realisation was how (possibly) stupid I was to keep going with all four A2 levels, especially considering the coursework heavy nature of each course. I also have a job now, which is good, but takes out my Sunday completely. Managing a blog at the same time would be near impossible, for me at least. Once again, I like procrastination, so time-management isn’t always my strong-suit. It’s a good job I don’t really have a social life…

The good news?

  • I now have some stuff worth bloggin’ about
  • Although art is secondary, I still absolutely love it…
  • …new music blog on the way as well as
  • several exciting new project ideas…
  • …which I will soon have all the time in the world for because…
So, to keep you entertained in the time in between, I’ve got a couple things to share.
If you want to keep up with contemporary art as much as the music scene, www.booooooom.com is where you need to go. Boom (with 7 zeroes) do for art what OMM is doing for music. Brief but interesting posts featuring some incredible and exciting new talent alongside some more established artists – also raising awareness of events / causes and large projects. The artists featured are so diverse – I’m not sure that I personally like all of it, but it’s an awesome way to keep track of stuff that’s happening right now. A couple things that I really like about booooooom; their Cover Songs Archive / project – which anyone can submit a video to, and their Flickr select, which again, anyone can join – and If your work gets spotted, you can end up on the homepage – which would be pretty awesome exposure, as they have a large following.
The second thing I wanted to share is…


A sneak preview of my final piece for Exploration and Discovery. Inspired by Conor Harrington.
If you’ve arrived here via my facebook page, there are more photos in my “Mobile Uploads” album. Although you can see the picture and the process, I’ll be adding a bit of context to the whole thing and picking apart my own work – explaining some of the choices I made. Fun.

Lost In My Own Back Yard, the final piece…

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had a lot of difficulty getting back into Fine Art and painting, after building most of the project around my photography. I just couldn’t get it. The most frustrating part was chopping my photos down, and combining fragments of each. To me, this has never made much sense – especially because of the way I take my photos.

Whereas a lot of primary source photographs are taken as reference for painting later, I take the photo with the intention of it being a stand-alone piece of work. I take into consideration my composition quite carefully – even in the early stages of a project. I have fought this idea on pretty much every project that I have done, and whether or not this is a good thing is yet to be decided. Last year’s exam topic, for instance, was on the theme of “Rhythms and Cycles”, and I had a focus on skateboarding and music throughout the project, and also showing my own personal cycle of everyday life – my journeying to and from school, etc. For my final piece, I had to figure out how to combine different images, and in such a way that they would fill the frame effectively. Easier said than done. Below is my final piece for Rhythms and Cycles….in which I combined three separate photos – the top left was an on-the-spot idea, as I had tried several other options, but went for something new on the exam day.

This factor became even more of a sticking-point when it came to a final piece – as a range of images and ideas are needed to gain the most credit. The only problem was – I had taken every single photo – with the exception of a few – carefully considering the photographers work and trying to replicate that style. By setting up the shot and composition in a similar style to Kientzle or Adams, their influence became clear through the end photograph.

Finally, I settled on a photo that I could de-construct just enough to get the piece done. I’m quite pleased with it so far, but I’m not sure what’s going to fill the bottom corner.

(Sorry this photo is not so great. It turns out that the combination of pen and pencil sat on top of acrylics really likes the light!)*

*I will edit this post when I have figured out how to do the piece justice with a camera. =’]

Tagged; An Exploration & Discovery update.



The past couple of weeks have been pretty mad, with student life going on the offensive, eating away at my sanity and pushing my already questionable sleep pattern to breaking point. (For anyone studying at Uni – or working 3 jobs – I apologize. This post was not meant to offend you, coming from a sixth form student…)

So, despite feeling the strain, or perhaps because of it, I blew of some steam and painted a big piece today*. To the relief and amusement of my art teachers, the piece was the second in a row that featured colour. I got so engrossed in painting this piece that an hour after the lesson finished, my teachers tried to kick me out (causing me to rush the conorsaysboom at the bottom).They gave up, and left me to clean up my mess and go home. 20 minutes later and the cleaner successfully shooed me out. It still needs completing with a figure in the middle, but here’s my  Conor Harrington influenced painting, which has taken me 3 hours, near enough.  =]


Somehow, this is the only paint I managed to get on me (my other hand was about the same) – except for a speck of red right in the middle of my hoody. I never did like the messy table.


For a sense of scale, check out the paint pot in the bottom right, which is the same as the pot in the first photo.






My “tagging” still needs work, – but, to be fair – the pros use cans, not brushes.



I almost called it quits before putting the final detail in, but as I am using Conor Harrington’s work as my main influence, I thought I’d better include a reference to his blog, amongst all the other music references, and other magical things from my mind-map.

*Due to interruptions with the WordPress site and Dashboard, I was unable to publish this on the day it was written (Tuesday 22nd March).

Lost In My Own Backyard.


Starting last September (2010), we were given free choice of a theme for our Personal Study. I knew from the start that I wanted to photography, and luckily, my teachers thought the idea would work, as long as I didn’t wander off too far from Fine Art. I chose to use Black & White photography as a starting point, but by December I was having difficulty stepping back into Fine Art mode. I fell out with the idea of just drawing (or painting) from my photos for the sake of drawing, and was clawing at a theme, something that was a bit more definite than the whole of Black and White photography.

After weeks of this going on, and feeling quite stressed about the whole thing, I realised my theme was pretty much staring me in the face. I looked at my photos again, realising that what I had already photographed contained the theme;

My Own Backyard.

Finally back on the right track, I began drawing and painting from photos again, just in time to start thinking about a final piece. That’s a story for another day.

4 artists in particular were key to the project, and the next three posts after this week will deal with each artist in turn, also showcasing their influence on my own photographs and paintings – as well as giving you insight into my process and thinking behind the project.

For now, you can find their work in the links below:

Beth Kientzle



Robert Adams

Let me know what you think, and stay tuned! =]