What’s the driving force of artist Mike Perry’s work? ‘Colour,’ he says, flatly. ‘And life and energy and excitement. I love what I do, I love the act of making art and sharing it. It’s a joyous experience.’ So no Pollock-style torture for this upbeat habitué of Brooklyn. Perry’s art is, in turns, humorous, poignant, abstract, simple and complex. He art directs and designs books; he draws, paints, illustrates and animates; he creates sculptures and installations ‘that make your eyes dance… and your mind and mojo, too’. His appetite for collaboration and creation is boundless. ‘I get lost in pattern and I want people who look at my art to get lost with me.’
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Perry lived in Minneapolis and Philadelphia before ending up in New York. After leaving school he went to college to study painting ‘but I wasn’t super into it, so I studied graphic design instead’. A job as an art director for Urban Outfitters followed, ‘then, eight years ago, I met a girl and moved to New York.
‘I considered myself a painter from the age of 14. I am always working on something – a drawing, a collage or a mobile. And these things make their way into my projects. Not always directly, but in spirit.’ Perry is, in his own words, ‘seduced, juiced and intoxicated by the way the hand-drawn informs and transforms contemporary visual culture and the experience of life itself ’.