Mike Sexton

overview
about the artist
exhibitions
statement
gallery: Mike Sexton
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overview

I’ve been involved in art since I was a child; always drawing and doodling but I found I really enjoys painting digitally which I’ve been doing since 2004. My digital paintings aren’t your usual “digital art” however. By using a graphic tablet & pen I’m able to paint in a way that makes my work look like they were done with oil, acrylic and water colors. I don’t use a lot of fancy filters to create my work; I just use my tablet as my palette and the pen as my brush. Many people have commented how surprised they were to find out my work is digital at all. My interests such as being an animal lover as well as a lover of different cultures come into play with my paintings & because of my curiosity and desire to learn, I paint in many different categories from ancient Egypt & other ancient cultures around the world to wildlife, mythological art and Celtic knots.


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about the artist

Mike Sexton was born in Germany and didn’t speak a word of English until he came to America at about 7 years old; his father being American, wanted the last of his six children to go through the American school system. Mike’s career path took a few unexpected twists and turns; he originally studied to become an accountant but then became bored with that and discovered his love for nature so he took some science courses so that later on he could become an ornithologist but finally he chose to go with something he’s been enjoying since he was a kid. He has been involved in art since he was a child; always drawing and doodling but he has found he really enjoys painting digitally so when he’s not working on a website for a client or designing graphics for his online stores he’s painting digitally which he’s been doing for the last six years. Mike’s digital paintings aren’t your usual “digital art” however. By using a graphic tablet & pen he is able to paint in a way that makes his work look like they were done with oil, acrylic and water colors. He doesn’t use a lot of fancy filters to create his work; he just uses his tablet as his palette and the pen as his brush. Many people have commented how surprised they were to find out his work is digital at all. Mike’s interests such as being an animal lover as well as a lover of different cultures come into play with his paintings & because of his curiosity and desire to learn, he paints in many different categories from ancient Egypt & other ancient cultures around the world to wildlife, mythological art and Celtic knots which he sells at several online galleries such as Fine Art America & American Frame.

Mike’s work takes on a serious tone when it comes to representing wildlife as well as history but he also knows how to inject fun and wit into his paintings; he has created several penguin paintings that blend reality & fantasy to show the “humanness” so many people see in penguins. His series on the Ishtar Gate of ancient Babylon look so real you can envision yourself walking through the gates and seeing people there behind them, and his big cat paintings express not only the beauty of the animals themselves but the surroundings make you think you’re hearing the sounds of the savanna and jungles where the cats reside. His paintings of eagles, crows and other birds give you a great sense of freedom and joy. Mike’s love and passion for ancient Egypt shows in every brush stroke by making the settings, the buildings and the deities appear as life-like as possible and using everything he’s learned about ancient Egypt from books, exhibits, science articles he brings you to a time that is long past but never forgotten. When Mike branched out wanting to learn how to create Celtic knots because of their beauty, their intricacy, he vowed to blend the techniques that have been used since Celtic knots were first created but also to add some new variations on old ideas to give each piece a classic yet contemporary feel and look.

Mike has had his work featured in a local Junction City Art Walk as well as having his work published into a coffee table book. He’s been featured in online articles where he gave more of his take on what he sees in art as well as what art means to him in addition to completing a couple of commission pieces; he’s also hosting his first solo art show at the Junction City Art Gallery this September. Even though his art is getting more recognition it is never enough for Mike; he’s always trying new techniques and ideas when he paints, so that he keeps pushing himself; when asked if being a perfectionist is a hindrance with his art Mike has said, “Being a perfectionist can be a hindrance at times because you tend to over think your own work at times, finding faults where no one else finds them but at the same time it’s also a good quality to have because it helps to keep you pushing the envelope; being a perfectionist makes me want to try new techniques, new brush strokes, new shading/lighting in my paintings and even new subject matter. It’s not always comfortable to go outside of your “comfort zone” because one thing I cannot stand is to fail at anything I do; however, at the same time, when you push the envelope and what you end up with is what you envisioned at the start or at any part of the creative process you get an incredible adrenaline rush that is just difficult to describe. I’m not a ‘formally’ trained artist, I didn’t attend an art school but being a perfectionist helps you to learn on your own and this is how I’ve learned my craft. One thing I’m very proud of is the fact that with each painting I try to make things harder for myself, whether that’s having an animal or person in a new pose that I haven’t tried painting before or if it’s new lighting/shading techniques I try out, I’m constantly trying to push my skills and hone up on the areas that I see as being a bit weak.”

Mike’s passion for both wild & domestic animals doesn’t just stop at paintings; it goes beyond to supporting the rights that all animals should have as well as trying to help get environmental laws more stringently enforced & improved. With what little free time Mike has, he spends it with his two “sons” — a Chihuahua/terrier mix & a Chihuahua/Dachshund mix. Being from Germany originally Mike also has a deep passion for the Bundesliga (Germany’s football league or as Americans call the sport, “soccer”) as well as going for hikes to do bird watching & nature watching.


exhibitions

  • 2010
  • October, Junction City Art Gallery, Junction City, KS
  • 2007
  • Artist’s first exhibit: Junction City Art Gallery’s Spring Walking Tour in Junction City, KS
  • Publications
  • The Wild & the Magical—Fantasy & Wildlife Art, 2007
  • The Anata Gallery—Your Art Edition 2011—I have my Golden Lion painting on the cover as well as a full color image inside the book.

artist statement

I’ve been involved in art since I was a child; always drawing and doodling but I found I really enjoys painting digitally which I’ve been doing since 2004. My digital paintings aren’t your usual “digital art” however. By using a graphic tablet & pen I’m able to paint in a way that makes my work look like they were done with oil, acrylic and water colors. I don’t use a lot of fancy filters to create my work; I just use my tablet as my palette and the pen as my brush. Many people have commented how surprised they were to find out my work is digital at all. My interests such as being an animal lover as well as a lover of different cultures come into play with my paintings & because of my curiosity and desire to learn, I paint in many different categories from ancient Egypt & other ancient cultures around the world to wildlife, mythological art and Celtic knots.

My work takes on a serious tone when it comes to representing wildlife as well as history but I also knows how to inject fun and wit into my paintings; I’ve created several penguin paintings that blend reality & fantasy to show the “humanness” so many people see in penguins. My series on the Ishtar Gate of ancient Babylon look so real you can envision yourself walking through the gates and seeing people there behind them and my big cat paintings express not only the beauty of the animals themselves but the surroundings make you think you’re hearing the sounds of the savanna and jungles where the cats reside. My pieces on eagles, crows and other birds give you a great sense of freedom and joy. In my paintings of ancient Egypt my love and passion for ancient Egypt shows in every brush stroke by making the settings, the buildings and the deities appear as life-like as possible and using everything I’ve learned about ancient Egypt from books, exhibits, science articles to bring you to a time that is long past but never forgotten. When I branched out wanting to learn how to create Celtic knots because of their beauty, their intricacy, I vowed to blend the techniques that have been used since Celtic knots were first created but also to add some new variations on old ideas to give each piece a classic yet contemporary feel and look.

As an artist I’d like to reach as many people as possible with my work; to get them thinking about the effect we have on our world as well as to have fun & enjoy the here and now while also looking into the past by using rich vivid colors to display our world and our ancient past. Most of my pieces have come to me from my emotions about nature, the animals we share it with and my love for all ancient cultures because I feel without learning from our species’ past, we can’t possibly get a proper perspective on the current state of our society. Nothing pleases me more than when I see someone enjoying my work; getting them to see an idea they might not have thought about before or had put away in the recesses of their experiences; seeing the wonder in their eyes and faces light up as they view, enjoy & think about the piece they’re viewing at the time. Also, when they ask me where I’ve learned my craft I’m always very proud to tell them that I’m self-taught & have learned on my own time, using art books, tips from other artists and good old fashioned trial & error so that they can see that it doesn’t take years of learning at any particular school to be an artist, it just takes a willingness to learn, a passion to create & express that passion as well as a lot of practice.

Mike Sexton

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More Work

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