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Hello Everyone,

Mike Sexton

I'd like to welcome you to my website and tell you I appreciate you stopping by;  I hope you're enjoying your visit & will tell your friends and family about Mike Sexton Studio.  I have had several emails asking questions about myself so I thought I'd list a few of them along with my responses so you can get to know me a bit better rather than just another artist who has a website among the millions of websites in cyberspace.

Why do you do what you do?

I've always been an artist in one way or another, even when I wasn't aware of it at the time. I remember in school we had to make these stupid paper bag covers for our school books and I couldn't just have a brown wrapper around my books with just the class name on it; I had to doodle designs onto it and the same was with my folders I used in school; there wasn't a free space on them- front or back. I have issues with writing about how I feel about things sometimes, whether that's about environmental issues, life in general, world events, etc so I've found when I paint that helps me to express myself and tell a story and who knows, I might even get others to re-think how they feel about certain things.

How would you describe your own work?

Again, describing my work isn't something that comes easily to me simply because I find it easier just to create rather than write about my work but I'd say that my work is 100% pure me. I've got lots of interests and passions including various world cultures, history, animals- both wild & domestic and I'm always curious about things so I let my work express those passions and curiosities. I put my entire heart & soul into each painting I create and that's why I take so much time to create them. Artists in general seem to be perfectionists so sometimes it's hard to know when to stop but I love to see my work evolve from one idea to another as the painting process goes on.

Why did you choose the kind of materials you are currently working with?

Mainly it's my way of minimizing my environmental impact and also I have someone living in my home who has lung issues and is very sensitive to a lot of different things. I worked with charcoal, oils, water colors and pencils before but we all know how hard oils are on the environment and I'll be honest, I've never gotten good results with watercolors. When I started trying to create with a graphic tablet, I found I got great results that didn't leave a negative impact until I'm completely done and have my work put on paper for sale. This way I don't have a huge trash can full of scraps and things. But I'm also very conventional in my methods. Some digital artists use fancy programs and things but for my own work, I use a program of course to let me paint with but I do it the old-fashioned way which is why my work rarely looks digital.

What makes your work personal to you?

Good question and not an easy one to answer. As I said earlier, I like to use things I'm passionate about- whether that's ancient history, today's wildlife, pets, ancient religions and I create paintings based on them, whether that stems from something I've read in the news, a show I've seen or just an image that springs to my mind's eye, once the idea comes to me I have to paint it, I have no choice in the matter because that's my process. Most of the time my paintings will involve something, whether it be a character, an animal, a background, whatever, that I haven't done before so each painting presents its own unique challenges to me and my skills and there's nothing more rewarding than taking an idea that you think "could" work and seeing it come to fruition with your own 2 hands and your mind's eye of what you see.

Who taught you how to perform your art or craft?

Honestly, for the most part I'm self-taught. I took a few art courses in junior and high school but nothing that really stuck with me, at least not that I'm consciously aware of. I've read a few books to help me to learn how to do some things- such as the creation of certain Celtic knot patterns or how to pose an animal or human in a certain way but for the most part my work has evolved through trial and error and a whole of sweat and work. For example, when I first began my work professionally, I began practicing 7 days a week, several hours each day.

What are common responses you get from people about your work?

I think the most common response I get is "wow, I can't believe that's digitally created!". I've gotten that more often than I can even count lol. Also, another common one is "your work is sooo detailed; it's like it could come out and come to life." - I really like that one because it shows that all the hours I take on a painting have paid off.

What life experiences shaped you as an artist?

It's difficult to pin point what specific things have shaped me as an artist. I mean I think one's entire life shapes one creatively. You take your good, positive experiences, the negative ones, the extremely dark ones that make you feel sometimes like you can't possibly keep going or even want to and you use those feelings, those energies when you create and I think your take on life, what interests you, who you associate with, even music you listen to, can shape your art work and your art career.

When do you feel most inspired?

There's no particular point in time when I'm most inspired or a time of day even. Sometimes ideas will come to me, which I like to call "my muse whispering in my ear" for days at a time or even months and then I can hit a proverbial brick wall and I won't have a creative inspiration for days or even weeks at a time. Which is truly frustrating but it comes with the territory.

Did you set goals for yourself? Have you met any?

One goal I have definitely set was to get my work in an art show which I'm very glad to say has happened. It took me about 3-4 years professionally before that happened but it was very well worth it. Another goal of course is to get my work into as many homes, offices, etc as I can so that people can enjoy my art. Art is wonderful to create but I have the best feeling when I know someone's purchased my work and wants it around them all the time. It's indescribable.

Where do you take your work? Could they meet you in person on any art shows or craft fairs?

I have my work available online for the most part but I'm always more than happy to show someone my work in person if they wish to see it.

Is there an achievement in your creative life you are very proud of?

I have entered a few art contests and I'm very proud to say that I've had some of my earlier work published in an art book as well as winning a contest where one of my paintings, The Golden Lion, was used on the front cover of the art book they published. I am also quite proud of my first solo art show. I'll admit, I'm an introvert so the opening night was very scary but in the end it was a very worthwhile experience getting to speak with people about my work and having them enjoy it.

What skills are you currently learning to master, or are on your to-do list?

If you've seen my work you'll see that outside of the ancient Egyptian deities, I rarely paint anything with a human form so one thing I'm still working on and will work on is the human body, especially the hands and feet which believe it or not, can be two of the toughest areas of the body to paint correctly- at least for me but I'm a stubborn German so I'll keep working on it as long as I'm able to.

Where do you live? Is it an inspiring place?

I live in northeastern Kansas. The lake near here can be inspiring yes.

Do you have a family? Are they helping you in your creative business?

Ja, I'm the only creative person in the immediate family so my family doesn't always understand my work but they do help encourage me, are happy for me when something good happens and my older brother and sister pass around some of my business cards.

What are some funny random facts about you?

I don't know if this is "funny" or not but when I paint, I do tend to sometimes speak to my painting- not like having a conversation don't get me wrong lol. But if something's not working the way I need it to I'll talk to the painting a little bit, air my grievances and what not.

Where do you like to spend most of your time?

I'm pretty much a home body but when I'm not at home I will try to spend some time at the local lake for bird watching and just to walk around, reconnect with nature and free my mind somewhat. Other than that, I'd love to go back home to Germany but that's not in the foreseeable future so I take what I can get where I'm at.

What other things, next to creating, do you enjoy in life?

I'm passionate about the environment and animal welfare. I have been since my mid 20's so I'm always trying to help those causes out. I've even donated a couple of items for a couple of animal rescue organizations over the years and I do create animal welfare & environmental designs for merchandise I sell. I think we all have a part to play to make sure this planet's around for many more generations and all the life on this planet is important and has its role to play and they deserve the chance to do that. After all, once a species is gone, we can't bring it back and if we destroy our environment, well we haven't got a planet B we can go off to. Aside from that, I'm also passionate about German soccer; I watch as many games from die Bundesliga as I can during the season and of course always try to catch all the games the Nationalelf play throughout the year and especially in the major tournaments. I'm also an avid reader from science books, history books to murdery mysteries, it's just another avenue to learn from.

Who are your happy customers? What do they have to say about you?

I have a "Happy Clients" page actually where you can read some of the wonderful things my customers and clients have said about me and my work over the years. My customers come from all walks of life and from around the world really.

Did you win any competitions with your work?

I have won a couple of competitions as I stated earlier, one included having one of my paintings not only in the book but also used on the cover of it and my first art contest won me the right to have some of my work published in its own book which was super exciting.

What do you have to offer your visitor? How could owning your work enrich their life?

I think my work has a lot to offer a visitor and potential buyer. I take scenes from around the world, whether that's our natural world such as in Africa, Asia, even the Arctic and Antarctic and I bring a bit of the wild to my work so that those who can't just go off and visit these places can see these animals and their surroundings anytime they wish. I also bring the past to buyers with works based on ancient Egyptian history, mid-eastern and also European history. Some of the buildings in our species' past were absolutely exquisite and there's nothing like them available to see today so I try to bring them to the here and now so that this generation and future generations can enjoy them and who knows, might even become inspired.

Has your work been mentioned in the media? If so, where?

Yes, when I had my solo art show I had an article written about me and my work in the Daily Union newspaper and also, this past year I had a couple of my works used in an International Art Tour publication and video.

Which piece in your collection is your own personal favorite, and why?

It's hard to pick a favorite, they're almost like my children but one painting that I've loved since day was is my Golden Lion painting. It took soooooo long to paint; I believe almost 80 hrs total and it wasn't the lion as you might expect that took the longest but the rocky surroundings I placed him in. I was constantly dissatisfied with the way they looked, they weren't realistic enough so I would work 2-3 hrs on them, hate it and scrub those out and start over again; it was a gruelling process but I was never so pleased when I was done as I was with that particular piece.

Do you accept commissioned work or custom orders?

Yes, when time allows I'm more than happy to take on a commissioned piece and have done a couple over the years. As for custom orders, anyone's more than welcome to reach out to me with their idea or artistic need and I'll be glad to see what can be done to make their idea a reality.

How did you become interested in Egyptian art?

I've been interested in Egyptian art, culture and history since I was a child.  I think it was the sixth grade when I first began learning about ancient Egypt in Social Studies and since then I've been hooked.  I've read every book, seen every show and checked out as many websites as I can get my hands on.  I don't know if it's the mystery behind their early civilization, their religion or what but the entire package has always been a real passion of mine.

How long have u been creating?

That depends on how u mean; if you mean sig tags then it's about 2001; if you mean professionally- that'd be since 2005 but if you mean creating in general, since I was a little birdie.

What's your media of choice?

I use Paint Shop Pro and my graphic tablet the most;  I must admit that I'd be lost without my graphic tablet;  it lets me fine tune a lot of features on my work & add details that you can only get with using a tablet or going at it with a brush.

Where did u get the idea for Project Penguin?

Wow, I always appreciate it when my work creates a question for someone.  Actually the idea came to me when I was painting "Snowball Fight";  I thought it'd be cool to see a couple of penguins building a snowman.

How long did the Iron Cross Celtic Knot take you to complete?

That particular piece took me about a week to get completely finished;  I kept fine tuning parts and replacing different spots that didn't look quite right as the project went along.

How do you come up with your painting titles?

Actually most of the time the titles come to me as I'm finishing a painting; from what I've read, most book authors have the same issue but once in a while I will come up with the title before I paint it.  Once in a blue moon though I'm even stumped AFTER I've painted and so I take a few extra days til I get a working title to use.

What would you say influences your artwork the most right now? ( March 2007)

Hmmm., I'd say some ideas that friends have been throwing my way as well as my general imagination.  I finished 2 new pieces; I seem to work in cycles sometimes; for example, in the past month I've worked on 2 NEW Egyptian paintings as well as a couple of new Celtic Knot paintings.  It really depends on what ideas I have at the time as well as whatever I'm seeing or watching; such as several years ago I painted "The Gateway to Hall of Truth" after I watched a documentary on the Book of the Dead that the Egyptians used in ancient times;  a vision came to me and I had to create it. A couple of friends gave me a few ideas which turned into "Mom & Cub" as well as "Father & Son" but the Egyptian ones and the Celtic knots were mainly my own idea;  I always like to push myself with my work and take on new avenues.  Whatever I'm working on I make sure to add a bit of myself into it to give its own unique style & flair.

How do you spend your free time?

I have very little of that but when I do manage a bit I like to spend it with my dogs and bird; playing with them, watching a little television, going for a hike to do some birdwatching which is how I originally got my nickname-my love for birds as well as taking my camera along to capture some photographs.  I also try to be active in animal welfare causes as well as environmental and social causes as much as possible.  I feel we all have to do our part;  it's one thing to complain about it, it's entirely another to get up and do something about it.(End of soapbox hehe).

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