New York-based artist Mike Lee’s work sees him “remove detail and simplify figures and objects down to their most basic shapes”. The result is a series of smoothly-textured, painted silhouettes that feel as though they’re swimming through the air. “My ideas stem from observing my closest friends, family, strangers and reflecting back on various moments throughout my life,” explains Mike. His abstract interpretations of these moments is ambiguous but intriguing and this feeling is emphasised by the CGI-like finish Mike achieves.
“I started off using the most basic tools: paper and pencil. However ultimately it just wasn’t practical for the amount of ideas I wanted to explore,” says the artist. “I couldn’t finish a drawing in a reasonable amount of time, so I’ve now shifted exclusively over to oil paints. My production has increased ten fold and I’m also able to utilise the full range of values instead of being constrained by the limitations of graphite.”
There’s a sombre tone to Mike’s work but the weightlessness of his characters feels hopeful and lightens the monochrome atmosphere. “I’ve realised the most important thing to me is the emotional connection people have with my work. I do my best to achieve this through the use of lighting and abstracting figures,” he explains.
About the Author
Rebecca became staff writer at It’s Nice That in March 2016 before leaving the company at the end of 2017. Before joining the company full time she worked with us on a freelance basis many times, as well as stints at Macmillan Publishers, D&AD, Dazed and frieze.