Urban Extract Series:
I visually translate my urban environment by extracting structural areas and recreating them though color, shadow, and cropping. Density of buildings and their relationship to each other in connection with the atmospheric light are essential elements I use to translate reality into my art. The geometric forms of windows, letter forms and walls are carefully studied from photos I take to recreate into oil paintings. Discovery of new color and juxtaposing angles develop totally new portraits of the extracted building parts I have assembled into a single designed piece. Seeing deliberate relationships of parts to make a whole is a main element amassing the development of my work. Color is carefully scrutinized from real shades, tones and hues from photographs I take of my subjects. This interpretation of color bores brand new color characteristic of the urban areas I am depicting with oil paint. I hope that by observing my work a new recognition for our urban landscape evolves and sparks a respect for new and old building structures.
Another series of paintings I paint in the same photorealism style are neon signs. My background in graphic design Instilled in me a natural attraction to signage, and my sense of nostalgia drew me to the vintage aesthetic. As an example, I painted the iconic signages of Grainbelt Beer and Gold Medal Flour because of there large present day significance both socially and financially to the region, not to mention the history behind the signs as well. This has inspired me to investigate further examples of signage and how they affect the communities they have come to represent. I try to connect with my audiences though their interest in painted realism. Exploring how my photorealism can transcend a sign painting and connect with audiences on a personal level has always been important to me.
My new series of abstractgraffiti is influenced by my background in design and living in the urban core of a city all my life. Eventually I will integrate my abstractgraffiti into both my realistic signage series and Urbanextract series. My signage painting and graffiti have similarities; both being based on one word, and the letter forms in them. My process in painting these Graffitiabstract pieces started from a keen observation of graffiti in my neighborhood and from all the graffiti generated by protest of the George Floyd death. I also needed to develop a process of painting that was looser and expressed a design quicker than realism painting but that I could integrate the two styles together. My process starts with extracted parts of the whole graffiti piece, with just parcel letter shapes I recreate a whole 12×12 piece though color and added shapes used in graffiti.
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Mike Welton takes commissions.
Minneapolis Buildings & Areas
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