Merry Christmas and the rest to all you hip tots out in the cold, dirty world...we have prepared for you a special holiday treat...the odd and ‘deadly’ works of Mike Egan. Mike has first hand knowledge of real dead people from his days as an embalmer but as an artist he handles the deceased with cartoon ease in series of skeletal paintings that will amuse and thrill you. So don’t be afraid...step right up and get a good look at this gallery of spiritual impressions from those who have passed on...
Your work in funeral homes is a great "career fact!"
Like how Eddie Money was once a cop or Sting, a High School
English teacher; only yours is a heck of a lot more
interesting. Do you feel any sense of being 'haunted'
after your time in 'corpse city.'
I don't feel like I'm necessarily haunted from
working in funeral homes, but I don't think that I'll
ever forget about it. I mean I did embalm people for
a living, you know that was a lot of crazy things that
Looking at the 'news' on your website it looks like
you have plunged yourself into the gallery/shows scene. Is
showing in the 'real world' (as opposed to the
not-so-real online one) influencing or informing your vision?
I really like showing in galleries, it's great to
talk to people face to face about my work. I actually
like when people don't know who I am and start giving
their opinion, good or bad.
I think all artists struggle with motivation at times.
What is it that drives you to pick up a paint brush and
'get down to business?'
I think that the biggest influence would be my
horrible day job, I'd love to do my art full-time.
I'm just like everyone else though, I have my good
weeks where I get loads of work done, and weeks that
You are influenced by religious icons. Is this from a
view 'inside of' or 'outside of' actual spiritual belief
(God, Jesus, Heaven, Hell, life-after-death etc...)?
I have belief in all of the above. I was raised
Catholic, so being in churches I got to look at lots
of great paintings and stained glass windows. Working
in funeral homes also introduced me to different
religions and their iconography.
When you introduce type into your works such as the
word, 'bleed' it makes the paintings (which are flat and
graphic to start with) feel something like a sign. Am I onto
I really love typography, so yes there is a feeling
of an advertisement or a sign. I feel that the words
are a way to break up my compositions, give a new
feeling to the painting.
You are a big fan of the current crop of hot Lowbrow
artists (formerly known as "underground") Are you
interested in more serious, classic works? I think of
Albrecht Dürer, Hieronymus Bosch and late medieval
woodcuts (demons and death subjects) when I look at
I really love the German Expressionists, Otto Dix,
Max Beckman and Kathe Kollwitz. They were the ones
that got me into my style of bold line work. Of
course I love Jose Guadalupe Posada, his wood cuts are
On your MySpace page it says you are trying to quit
television. What's your beef with the boob tube?
As much as I say that I want to quit television I
don't think that it will happen any time soon. TV
actually works as background noise for me as I paint.
You are getting a ton of quality mileage from the
skeleton theme. Any sketches or future plans for other
I'm working on some figures that have beards and
hats. I'd like to get more decorative with people's
outfits. I would like to work with different
languages as text. I'll never really get rid of the
skeletons or devils, they've kind of taken over.