Check out these unique paintings featuring various pop culture characters, all from the mind of artist Mike Maydak.
Northern Kentucky artist Mike Maydak brings a unique style to his paintings that blends fine art with comic books and pop culture. The characters featured in his paintings cross a wide range of popular movies, television, and comic book properties that includes Star Wars, Dr. Who, Marvel, DC, He-man, Mad Max, and many more. Check out his bio, several interview questions and more images below. You can visit his website and Etsy to check out more of his work or purchase original paintings and prints.
As a kid Mike Maydak dreamed of working with big cats like lions and tigers. He failed miserable, and instead settled on being an artist.
Artist Mike Maydak fuses an impasto impressionism with a graphic comic flair, creating new interpretations of pop culture icons and classic subject matter. Maydak’s work has been published and featured in a variety of avenues, including comic books, magazines, art books, and television.
Artist Mike Maydak started in the sequential art industry. Creator of 1782: The Year of Blood, an historical adaptation of frontier life, and Slimbone, a nationally distributed comic strip, Maydak also illustrated a run of Blackbeard Legacy. Turning his skills to “fine art”, Maydak fused an impasto impressionism with a graphic comic flair, focusing on architectural structures and pop culture icons. His work has been recently featured in 2012 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market and on public television stations across the world via his appearance on Bluegrass & Backroads and Arts Bridge via PBS. He has published two collection of his works, MAYDAK Volume 1 and MAYDAK Volume 2. Maydak was the recipient of the Al Smith award in 2007. "
TMS: What are your artistic influences?
MM: Heavy Metal Magazine, Alfonso Azpiri, Van Gogh, Cassegrain, Fabio Moon, Gabriel Ba, Winsor McCay.
TMS:Can you tell the readers which comics and publishers you have worked for?
MM: It’s been a long time ago and they weren't very good. So I kinda don't want to say. I'm sure it’s really easy to Google if you wanted to.
TMS: What made you transition from comics to creating and selling paintings and canvas reproductions?
MM: Making paintings is way easier then comics. Creating comics is an interdisciplinary craft that requires an intuitive sense for design if you want to do them well. Painting, not so much. Painting is not easy, but a lot of what makes a painting appealing is trusting in happy accidents that natural occur with your material, least for me. Painting has really taught me that the less there is a narrative, the more likely the viewer will create their own narrative, making it more appealing to them. A principal that transcend all kinds of mediums. I probably could make a better comic from simply what I learned that makes a painting sell.
TMS: You went from architecture to pop culture characters, what made you decide to go that route?
MM: I do a lot of comic book cons. Nearly every artist on the scene was doing fan art (pop culture) for sale. It didn't even have to be good and it would sell. I was doing pretty well on my own with my original content "house" paintings, but to remain competitive in a way, I took a stabbed at the pop culture stuff, with my own twist of course.
TMS: How do you decide which characters you end up painting? How much of the decision is fan or geek based?
MM: There really has to be a nostalgic connection for me. At 34, I could give a !$#% about Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, Power Rangers, or whatever is hot for the next three months. I need that connection. So if you’re talking Star Wars, Thundercats, He-Man, it has my attention. I also love doing the real obscure stuff too. There is just less pressure to "get it right" and make your own mark when you paint, say, Ponda Boba over Han Solo.
TMS: How many conventions do you typically exhibit at each year? Is that the primary way that you build and sell your brand?
MM: Too many. Cutting back. Yeah, I think it’s the best way to build your brand. I feel that the internet can be good, but just not solid. Can be very fleeting and disposable as far as exposure. People will remember you way more if you meet them in person.
TMS: Can you talk a little about the grind of working so many conventions?
MM: I guess the worst part about convention is the constant disruption to creating something new. It’s a routine killer. In fact, it’s real easy to get in a routine of traveling and doing the shows. That transition back to the creating art routine can be a bit... heart breaking. It’s like shifting gears and the clutch drops out. Any momentum you had on a project before is dead and you have to find a way to jump start it.
TMS: Finally, who are your favorite comic book or movie characters?
MM: Conan. He was my first. I was like, "Conan, he is awesome. I want to be more like Conan. But I don't look nothing like Conan." Started me doing pushups that day.
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