Los Angeles native Mike Stilkey has always been attracted to painting and drawing not only on vintage paper, record covers and book pages, but on the books themselves. Using a mix of ink, colored pencil, paint and lacquer, Stilkey depicts a melancholic and at times a whimsical cast of characters inhabiting ambiguous spaces and narratives of fantasy and fairy tales. A lingering sense of loss and longing hints at emotional depth and draws the viewer into their introspective thrall with a mixture of capricious poetry, wit, and mystery. His work is reminiscent of Weimar-era German expressionism and his style has been described by some as capturing features of artists ranging from Edward Gorey to Egon Schiele.
I didn’t actually get into art until later in life. Before art, I was a skateboarder. (Big Surprise). When I was a teenager, I had a friend who lived in a group home. He ran away from the home and my parents let him live in our garage. We would skate together all the time and we made pipe bombs, listened to metal and collected dead animal bones – you know, typical dude stuff. He was in AWR and MSK. I started to hang out with a lot of graffiti writers at the time, and ended up filming a lot of graffiti. I was so amazed that these guys would spend all hours of the night painting all over the city for no reason other than that they wanted to do that – I wanted to be a part of it. I would go to the train yards with them and got into the usual trouble. My graffiti bout lasted only a short while, but was a lot of fun. I stuck the board in the backyard so people can come over and let out there inner angst. (Fecal Face Dot Com)