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FEATURED ARTIST: Michael O’Gorman

2013 November 30

Learn more about Featured Artist Michael O' Gorman!‘SHROOM to go

It has been a truly surreal year for me, my personal art, and for many of my readers.  So, with fingers crossed I began reviewing the entries hoping to find a little surrealism.  Honestly, I rarely have surrealists enter, but I was hopeful.  I knew what I wanted, and what-do-you-know, I found it.   It was like finding that random mushroom on your pepperoni pizza just when you were hoping for veggies.  On behalf of AAAD, I am proud to announce this month’s Featured Artist is Michael O’Gorman.  I find this work to be endlessly complicated, but fluid.

The Application of Great Britain to the Earth by Featured Artist Michael O'Gorman!FEATURED ARTIST:
Michael O’Gorman

Michael O’Gorman is an artist from the United Kingdom who specializes in surreal oil paintings of organic and anthropomorphic subject matter, expressed through a unique ’merging’ style. He is obsessed with detail and perfection, and spends many months on a single painting, ensuring that the color gradients are smooth, that all narratives within a composition blend harmoniously, and – most importantly – that each painting is exciting and rewarding to view!

O’Gorman graduated from the University of Warwick in 2006 and works as a freelance artist and writer.  He loves to create complex, detailed artworks whose narratives can be explored and observed forever, with the viewer always discovering something new and exciting.

Memoirs of a Fertile Imagination by Featured Artist Michael O'Gorman!Are you self taught or formally instructed?  “I’m self-taught. I always doodled as a child, but it wasn’t until 2002 – when I was 17 years old – that I tried to create my first serious drawing. Four months of obsessive penciling by lamplight later, and ‘Black Water’ was finished!

“Three years after ‘Black Water,’ I taught myself to paint. I outlined some figures onto canvas with pencil and coloured them with acrylic paints. This was the beginning of my first painting, ‘Perpetual Fluidity,’ which remains my only improvised painting.

“I’m extremely glad that I avoided art lessons, since I cannot understand how surreal artists – artists whose works are assessed on uniqueness of expression – could benefit from an external mentor. I do have a university degree, but it’s in an unrelated field.”

The Medicine Tree by Featured Artist Michael O'Gorman!Is your media paint, ink, digital?  Of the twenty-eight artworks I have created to date, two are in pencil, one is in acrylic, and the rest are in oil. It didn’t take me long to graduate from acrylic to oil after completing ‘Perpetual Fluidity.’   Though I appreciated their boldness, I found acrylics a little too shallow for my tastes.  Moreover, their quick drying times maddened me; I’m a perfectionist, and I need to spend hours moving paint around the canvas until the colour gradients are seamless!

I read your method of deriving inspiration from words randomly chosen from the dictionary, but I am also interested in knowing those pieces that have personal meaning to you.  Talk to me about your favorite (non-random) piece.  My favourite piece to date is probably ‘Memoirs of a Fertile Imagination’ since I feel it encapsulates the most unique aspects of my style: An unlimited sense of flow (resulting in a non-existent focal point), anthropomorphism (giving human features to non-human subjects), and a playful tone. Its warmth always brings a smile to my face.” 

The Landscape Painter by Featured Artist Michael O'Gorman!You state that, “Working from life is plagiarism”.  That’s a pretty controversial way of explaining you’re not a fan of representational work.  What does that say about your view of photography?   “I appreciate photography to an extent, and the medium has incomparable value as a historical document. Unfortunately, while not everyone can compose music, write stories, or paint landscapes, everyone can take photographs. Consequently, photography has become the refuge of the amateur, and the online art world is now saturated with unremarkable photos that often eclipse the actual artwork.” Editor’s Note: Ouch.  Just in case you think this contest is rigged or biased, please note this is the second Featured Artist in a row that has, innocently enough, slammed some aspect of how I work.  Geez.  Guess it is good that I’m not thin-skinned.

A Corporate Ladder Deflating an Encapsulated Situation of Its Irony by Featured Artist Michael O'Gorman!What style or school of art do you think your work fits into and why?  “I’m comfortable with the surreal label, since Surrealism is an effective umbrella term for unusual artwork. I also feel that certain artworks of mine have Abstract and Visionary elements to them, though I don’t align myself with those movements.”

What artists (living and/or dead, famous or not) inspire you most?   I’m not a great art lover, and I can’t claim direct inspiration from other artists. That said, I do appreciate the works of Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel, Salvador Dali, Jacek Yerka, and Zdizslaw Beksinski. I like artists whose works are unique and instantly recognisable – artists that don’t need to signature their paintings because no-one can imitate them in the first place.

Interview continues below Perpetual Fluidity.

Perpetual Fluidity by Featured Artist Michael O'Gorman!

You know we have to talk about food. What is your favorite? Though I’m from the UK, my mother is Italian and I was raised in a household where Mediterranean food reigned supreme: Pasta, salads, buffalo mozzarella, bruschetta, pizzas, etc.  Italian food still remains my favourite.

“I’m also a big fan of British desserts, especially fruit scones with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam (served with English breakfast tea, of course). I honestly think I could eat that every day. In fact, when I’m elderly enough to get away with it, I probably will.”

A Multi-Instrumentalist’s Self-Performance by Featured Artist Michael O'Gorman!What about snack foods? “Probably arancini. They are balls of rice and cheese that have been fried and coated in breadcrumbs.” I have to admit, I have never heard of arancini, much less tasted it.  Fascinating.  That doesn’t happen often.

So, what’s coming up next for you? “In-between creating new artwork, I hope to put my existing artwork on sale for the first time.  I’ll also create a page on my website where people can buy prints of the original work.  After all, is a home truly a home without a framed print of a campfire transforming into a horned beast that writes algebra on an oversized blackboard pulsating with live flesh?  Definitely not!”

Michael, thank you for such a well-defined point of view and for being precisely that for which I was searching this month.

Learn more about Michael O’Gorman online!

Learn more about Featured Artist Michael O Gorman!

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