Interview with Painter, Roland Mikhail

How did you get started doing what you do?
I always drew as a child. When I was 13 or so I wanted to be a comic book artist, although it seemed like just a dream. And I kept on drawing. But it wasn’t until I was in college that I really fell in love with art.

How would you describe your creative style?
Slow and deliberate. I’d like to think I’ve got a pretty good mix of left and right brained activity. The images come from intuition poured into the structure of a careful craft, flowing between the methodical and the improvisational.

Interview with Painter, Roland Mikhail on Jung Katz

What’s your inspiration?
That’s a long and diverse list. Everything from photographs, film, fairy tales, psychology, poetry, even martial arts, and the list goes on- anything as long as it delivers. I do find myself coming back to Tibetan art and Southeast Asian Sculpture a lot though. There is just so much delicacy and beauty in the forms and the level of detail can be just mind bending. Maybe most important I’ve also had the good fortune of having friends who have added so much to my imaginative life.

What is art to you?
Art is a way to imagine and reimagine being human; a way to keep dreaming once we’ve woken. I think that’s what all the great art of the world has done …to open the possibilities of our lives and the way we see the world.

Interview with Painter, Roland Mikhail on Jung Katz
Interview with Painter, Roland Mikhail on Jung Katz
Interview with Painter, Roland Mikhail on Jung Katz

What does your typical day look like?
I work in the film industry as a scenic artist, but almost of my time has been spent in my the studio for the last year. Usually I wake up at 5:45, brush my teeth, and leave for the gym for some jiu jitsu. It’s a great way to structure the day and get in some needed exercise and play. After the gym I come home, eat, and get to work. I want to make sure I get at least 8 hours in front of the easel for the day. I work pretty steady through the day with short breaks for my eyes as needed. It’s not uncommon for the days to go much longer but it’s important for me to have some downtime at the end of the day.

How do you keep motivated?
There is an immense joy and excitement in seeing these things materialize. At this moment my love for the work is what keeps me motivated.

What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
I’d like to inspire the feeling of beauty, but more than that I’d like to make things that speak to the part of us we don’t know is looking; images that deepen overtime as you discover things that weren’t obvious at first.

Interview with Painter, Roland Mikhail on Jung Katz
Interview with Painter, Roland Mikhail on Jung Katz

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
A great teacher said something to the effect of don’t stop learning (and find others to learn from) wherever you find yourself. When we learn, we grow, and that’s a source of happiness.

What’s your dream project?
I have dabbled a little with stop motion animation. I would love to see my imagery projected and animated, but as things go it’s kind of time prohibitive.

Interview with Painter, Roland Mikhail on Jung Katz

What’s your process like?
I don’t have a set way I come up with images. When I’m lucky the images just show up (these are the rarer times) it might be in half-sleep or just all of a sudden. Then there are times when I may have a simple form, texture, or idea I know I want to work with and I will close my eyes and see what shows up. But when I have no ideas I will spend hours leafing through images; whatever is fascinating or has a pull. Eventually I will see something that leaves some kind of residue or intuition and the beginning of an image will come.

I then do a lot of work with preliminary sketches. This can come together very quickly but often I will let them stew for months (and there are some that have been waiting for longer). I find that slow cook to be important for me. It’s not very practical, but it works. As time has gone on I’ve learned to respect that the work doesn’t bend to my demands very well; in fact, it’s the complete opposite.

Follow Roland Mikhail on Instagram.

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