Mike Maxwell is a part time Historian and Anthropologist, and a full time Artist. Mike invited us out to his home in Crest to get a sneak preview of his new solo show, Human's Nature.
Sezio: Tell us about your upcoming show "Human's Nature"
Mike Maxwell: The title of the show and the work involved are meant to express human's own naturalism, and the ownership of it. We have for ages separated ourselves from nature, exploiting the whole man vs nature idea, we have turned ourselves into something greater than nature, as opposed to an equal part of the system. I believe that everything we do, say, eat, build, create, destroy, is all natural, because we are nature. The things we do are no different than the things any other animal will do to further its survival. I go as far as to say that even the things we build, that are so often vilified, such as our homes, cars, buildings, roads, etc... are also nature, as they are built by nature, so they too are natural. I see all these things as another step in our continual evolution and hopefully the show will capture some of that idea.
Externalizing the Internal
SZ: How long have you been preparing for this show?
MW: My whole life, but the work has been made over the last 4 - 5 months.
SZ: You show your work regularly. Do you have a show or theme in mind when you start painting?
MW: I often say my work comes as a re-education to myself, so yes their is often a theme to my work, as the work is generally based on whatever research projects I am working on in my personal life. For instance, I have done specific shows on Secret Societies, The Civil War, Sex, Science, and Religion. I'm getting to a point now where all of these topics are beginning to apply themselves to all my work as I study human behavior.
These Modern Discomforts
SZ: Where do the Americana images come from?
MW: They came from my sense of curiosity about who I am and where I come from. Its about the struggles my ancestors took upon themselves to make possible the things I have, and who I am, today. They also come from my anger about leadership, power, and politics in this country. It comes from misconceptions and propaganda.
A Perfect Balance
SZ: Did you stumble upon your drip effect one day, or was that pre-meditated from the get go?
MW: Well the recent drip work actually comes from working with "The Resistance" in London and LA. It was a natural accident.
SZ: When did you start painting on rocks?
MW: A couple years ago. I made a set of "Rock Bottom Risers" which were based on a song of the same title. I also made a set of "Riot Rocks" which are perfectly designed for throwing through your favorite local conglomerates plate glass window with style. Whenever an impromptu riot breaks out and you need to go run with the pack you'll be ready.
SZ: What kind of music are you listening to? What are you reading?
MW: All sorts of stuff, The Silent Comedy, Spoon, The Shins, Belle and Sebastian, Aesop Rock, Sage Francis, Bill Callahan, Modest Mouse, Blackout Party, Dylan. I recently read "On God an uncommon conversation" which was really good. I'm reading a couple recent H.S.T biographies from Jann Wenner and Thompson's widow. I'm reading a ton of gardening books too.
SZ: How can San Diego's art scene improve?
MW: More full time working artists and support for the arts from buyers.
Photo by Carly Ealey
Check out the Photo Gallery to see more of Mike's recent work and pictures from our visit to his home in Crest.