Artist Maiky Maik on how skateboarding helped them become the painter they are today

“I’m inspired by the behaviours of people performing everyday actions just as much as I am behaviours out of the ordinary,” says the Spanish painter and illustrator.

17 August 2021

“I’ve drawn and painted for as long as I can remember,” says Barcelona-based Maiky Maik. Originally from Zaragoza, the artist switches often between illustration and painting, “although I am increasingly focusing more on painting,” the artist tells It’s Nice That. Their portfolio is filled with beautiful works that boast a kind of romanticism often found in Almodóvar films, complemented by a distinct flare and colour of Maiky’s own. “From a very young age, I received painting classes in academies where I dedicated myself to copying landscapes from old painting magazines,” Maiky tells of his early beginnings with painting. “I hated doing that because I was a kid with a crazy imagination who just wanted to draw ugly monsters, drunk people, and some Pokemon occasionally.”

This element of fun and cartoon stays with Maiky’s work today. His form appears as an iteration of classical fine art, yet often there is a distinct subject or choice of proportion that elevates the painting into a realm of humour and joy. He stopped attending traditional painting classes, took up skating, and eventually found himself studying illustration at university. “It started seriously when I finished my illustration studies, fuelled by a need to express a very personal vision of the things around me,” Maiky adds. “As soon as I left school, I had an offer to make some artwork for a local skateboard brand in my city which encouraged me and gave me some visibility, and little by little I was receiving more offers on my art.”


Maiky Maik: Chica en verano (Copyright © Maiky Maik, 2021)

Skateboarding in particular remains important to Maiky and his art. As an artist who struggles to define himself, he quickly points to the sport as something which provides contextual clues to his visual style. “I started skateboarding when I was 14 years old and I immersed myself in something totally unknown that was occupying most of my time,” he says. “Receiving many influences from the world of skateboarding such as music, cinema, painting, photography, as well as a direct contact with the street, influenced me on a personal level, and that is reflected in my work.” As for his practice, Maiky isn’t fixated on the small stuff. “I’m not interested in the veracity when representing something, but rather focusing on certain details that I want to emphasise,” he explains. “For example, if I paint a table, I’m not concerned that the perspective is correct, I just want you to be able to recognise that this is a table where someone left a glass.” Symbolism and decontexualised elements of his environment which create everyday and surreal scenes at the same time are key to Maiky’s overall vision.

When it comes to constructing his paintings and personal work, Maiky finds his ideas are born from internal processes. “People, situations and any stimulus that comes across in the course of my day-to-day life are consciously or unconsciously recorded in my head.” His paintings serve to establish a discourse of intimate spaces and emotions that transport him to “places in my memory which come to life in my paintings,” he explains. It’s clear these inspirations have profound effects on his work, such as his painting work on display in the Antonia Puyó Gallery in Zaragoza. “It is the first time that I’m exhibiting in such a way, and preparing it has involved a lot of internal reflection. It has made me understand my work and myself a lot better.”

Overall, Maiky keeps the spirit of collaboration and interaction alive as he pursues his creative endeavours. For example, “one of the good things about developing your work in a city like Zaragoza,” he tells us, “is that since it’s not too big all the people who dedicate themselves to something creative get to know each other and many of us are friends.” Going forward, Maiky hopes to continue “carrying out projects that allow me to support myself and have a studio in which to paint and grow artistically,” he tells us. It’s a small ambition that’s admirable, and we know with Maiky’s talent that he’ll continue to flourish as a painting juggernaut.


Maiky Maik: Artista callejero (Copyright © Maiky Maik, 2021)


Maiky Maik: Man on a chair (Copyright © Maiky Maik, 2021)


Maiky Maik: Cielo (Copyright © Maiky Maik, 2021)


Maiky Maik: Cielo (Copyright © Maiky Maik, 2021)


Maiky Maik: Pajaro tras caballo (Copyright © Maiky Maik, 2021)


Maiky Maik: Maik Time (Copyright © Maiky Maik, 2021)


Maiky Maik: Encants (Copyright © Maiky Maik, 2021)


Maiky Maik: Abrazo (Copyright © Maiky Maik, 2021)


Maiky Maik: Bañistas (Copyright © Maiky Maik, 2021)


Maiky Maik: neighbourhood (Copyright © Maiky Maik, 2020)


Maiky Maik: Kiss (Copyright © Maiky Maik, 2021)

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Maiky Maik: Face (Copyright © Maiky Maik, 2021)

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About the Author

Joey Levenson

Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. He was part of the It’s Nice That team as editorial assistant in 2021, after graduating from King’s College, London. Previously, Joey worked as a writer for numerous fashion and art publications, such as HERO Magazine, Dazed, and Candy Transversal.

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