Enter spring in New York: vibrant, textured, buzzing, slightly sexy -- all with that psychedelic, allergy-induced haze. And along with it, an art show that evokes that same natural high from the artist that gave us Broad City's stonerific opening animation as well as the nude drawing series Get Nude, Get Drawn. Mike Perry, a Brooklyn based artist who works both as an animator and a painter, chose the long-winded title of his solo show at Garis & Hahn gallery as a sort of poetic describer of the work itself: Intoxicating Pollen Wiggling in a Moist Journey of Constantly Blooming Tides. But it encapsulates the paintings and that soft, spring high perfectly: the paintings are bright, playful and goofily sensual. We spoke with Perry about the show to dissect the title and take a look into the altered mentality of the work, where no lines are ever straight and everything is in bloom.
Click the through the gallery below for images from Intoxicating Pollen.
An Orgy of Lines (Dyptic), 2015, (Black)5o x 48 (Blue)48 x 48 Inches, House Paint, Acrylic and Gouache
What's the meaning of the title of the show?
The title goes into all of the work. Intoxicating Journey… no wait I know this–Intoxicating Pollen Wiggling in a Moist Journey of Constantly Blooming Tides. Individually each word represents a piece.
Intoxicating: Half of my goal is to to play on the psychedelic, hallucinogenic alternate reality. If you really look at something can you make it wiggle or melt or transform.
Wiggling is my favorite word, and I spend a lot of time not making straight lines, trying to embrace the wiggle.
Pollen: There's flowers, things are blooming. I want it to feel like a bloom that's just coming out, will open it's eyes for a few minutes, and then go back into the world.
Moist: I know it's a fopau word but things are a little damp. I was picturing the energy when a wave crashes. I won't lie, it's erotic.
Journey: There's a travel to it and scenes of mountains and places.
How did you choose the works in these words and in the show?
I wrote the name in a journal many years ago and a lot of the work comes from sketches in my notebook that I would make when I didn't have the time to do paintings. I had a bedtime sketchbook while I was really busy with a commercial. I did sharpie drawings of paintings and then when I was ready I had hundreds of painting ideas to chose from. It's a luxury to be able to spend this much time completely going into your own brain.
You put on Get Nude Get Drawn recently, an event where you got a bunch of artists together for a marathon of drawing nude models. Are the nude figures in your paintings drawn from real people?
I work only from my sketchbooks. If there's a figure from a photo or from a person that I drew I take it from there, so I'm not even sure of the source material at this point. It allows the figures to be a little off.
You also work with animation, both with a piece in this show and for the intro to Broad City. How is that process different?
Painting feels lonelier actually. Animation is very isolating because of the many hours and the tedious routine but it's very collaborative, even if I'm making all the drawing there is a conversation that's happening with the team. It connects you to the outside world. When I'm painting it's just sitting, and staring, interacting with the paintbrush. I needed to have friends over to validate what I was doing because at a point you're like "What the fuck am I doing I've been here forever!"
Any other influences?
My grandfather was a painter. He lived in Missouri, he was very prolific but didn't show very much. I was making the work and I couldn't help but think about generational accomplishments and big picture goals. He needed to do the steps that he did in order for me to do the steps that I want to do.
Is your grandfather's work similar to yours?
It is! It's funny I was kind of stoned this weekend and I was looking at one of his paintings and I realized we are kind of doing the same thing! The way things are framed. He was really into cubism. It was abstract and like a typical picture of a room and a chair and fruit basket, but man I love painting fruit baskets. It's my favorite shape and my favorite historical object! A couple years ago I posted a picture of his work on my Instagram and I had this appiphany: His work is being seen more by this post than it was ever seen in his life. It's bizarre. It's history.
Intoxicating Pollen Wiggling in a Moist Journey of Constantly Blooming Tides will be on view through May 29, 2016 at Garis & Hahn gallery.