Interview: Artist Mike Rogers Creates Incredibly Realism Paintings
Mike Rogers is a painter, drawer and photographer from Aurora, Colorado. He has been making art for around 30 years but began oil painting around 2004. Oil paint is his primary medium, however he uses a variety of mediums depending on what he is trying to convey. Rogers considers his style to be in realism and generally he uses a variety of photo references in order to create his image. Much of the time, Rogers will use his own photos as references when he can. In terms of subject matter, Rogers is willing to paint just about anything but seems to focus on animals, portraits, and landscapes.
How did you get started in your art?
Ever since I can remember I have created art in some way. When I was younger my parents would buy me sketchbooks and I would bring them wherever I went, drawing in them for hours on end. As I grew older I became fascinated with graffiti and comic style art and I would try to copy other artists images as closely as I could. This helped me notice the subtle details that the artists put into their works and through trial and error I began building the techniques necessary to one day become a professional artist. Eventually, I moved away from copying comic books to drawing the women I would see in magazines and from there I began painting these women, trying to master blending, shading and proportion. With my most recent artworks, my goal has been to combine the influences from graffiti and comic book style art with the photorealism I have worked so hard to develop.
The portrait can say so much and I love trying to create a story with a single image. They say that the eyes are the gateway to the soul, so when I’m photographing models it is vital that the model is able to express emotion with only their eyes. After that, the focus is shifted to what the rest of the face is saying to complete the story. My next step is to manipulate the image using Photoshop to boost the vibrancy of the colors and alter the rest of the photo to give it a more graffiti style. It’s only after I am satisfied with the image on the computer that I will begin to paint it. This method allows me to take huge risks without having to worry about repercussions because I can always undo any mistakes I’ve made. Painting people, however, isn’t the only subject that inspires me and I use this same process when painting from any photograph I have taken.
I ask myself why I have dedicated my life to being an artist and the truth is I make art because it’s part of who I am and even if I tried to stop, I’m addicted to it. Just like water and air, art is a necessity for me and finishing a painting fills me with a sense of accomplishment and pride in what I do. I feel that art is what makes me unique and without it I would be lost.
What’s your inspiration?
I consider myself to be a graffiti style artist who paints pictures of alternative models. I’ve always enjoyed painting people with dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings because I feel that they have already turned themselves into a work of art, however, a lot of times, these individuals are viewed as being uncanny, abnormal, and unapproachable. I find these people to be the most interesting. These are my people. But I don’t paint models simply because they have a particular fashion sense. The people I paint tend to evoke some sort of feeling that I can relate to. It might be the look in their eye or the way they carry themselves, but somehow, this person is telling us a story and my paintings offer a glimpse into their world.
What are some of your favorite tools to use?
I mostly work in oil and acrylic paint. The first step in my painting process is to photograph a model in my studio and typically I enjoy using a one-point lighting set up. I like the dramatic shadows I get from one-point lighting and the depth that these shadows create. From there, I pick my favorite image or two from the shoot and then decide how I’m going to paint it on canvas. It’s sometimes difficult to pick a favorite image because normally I’m looking for something exciting and new that I haven’t done before. Once I’ve chosen an image, I start with acrylic paint and then at some point switch to using oils. I find that this method speeds up the painting process (because acrylic dry’s so much faster) and gives me the look that I’m going for.
Are you classically trained, did you go to art school?
Yes, I went to the Metropolitan State University of Denver for my bachelor’s degree and then Went to Regis University in Denver for a master of fine arts degree.
Are you currently accepting commissions?
Yes, all of my commission prices are on my website. I do drawings and paintings based off of pictures people send me. I try to get to know my clients as much as possible to find out why they want the artwork created and what their expectations are for the work. Sometimes it’s necessary for me to Photoshop the images clients send me and I send these edits to the client before starting the artwork. This way, the client will have a better idea of what the artwork is going to look like and give me feedback before I begin. I have a great company that I go through to ship my items and they specialize in shipping large artworks so that my clients can be assured that their artwork will arrive safely.
I’m also a photographer as well. I take glamour, engagement and senior photos and my photo shoot packages and prices are on my website too. Photo-shoots are typically done at my studio or in locations around the Denver area.
If you create in multiple genres (comics, oil paint, graphite, landscape, wildlife, etc.), which one is your favorite and why?
I guess I’m most known for my portraiture and figure paintings but I like making all kinds of art. Sometimes when I make several portraits in a row, I feel exhausted from that subject matter and I switch gears back to my roots, which some might call a more graffiti style.
I also really enjoy taking pictures of landscapes and cityscapes. Sometimes I go hiking with my buddies into the Rocky Mountains really late at night and as far from civilizations as we can get. We take pictures of the Milky Way and it’s a really tranquil experience to be sitting alone in silence with the entire universe floating above us.
Name: Mike Rogers
City and State: Denver, Colorado
Portfolio Website: LifeOfMike.com
Other Social Networks: Instagram: MikeRogersArt