For Mike, photography was probably his earliest creative outlet, and some years later he attended night classes in drawing and composition, and ceramics. At this time Mike was employed as a technician. In 1994 he quit work for full time art study, school, moving to Nelson School of Art for the first year, with the next three years at the Otago Polytechnic School of Art, including six months in Canberra as an exchange student to the ANU School of Art.
Immediately after graduating with a Fine Arts Degree, he took up the offer to tutor part time on the program, at the Otago Polytechnic School of Art. This was followed by several years tutoring part time in the Design School.
Back in 2012, Mike first exhibited the toy car series, On Assignment, a resuscitation operation for very tired 50 cent Matchbox toys; begun initially as a sculptural endeavour, it soon moved into photography and the imaginative realms possible using a computer and Photoshop. On Assignment was followed by the model train series, Fellow Travellers.
The Warlike works in Just Playing resulted from Mike’s visit to Omaka air museum in 2016, where the true significance of weaponising these crazy early flying machines became apparent. War is restless, never satisfied.
When compared to the previous series of works, Mike’s most recent work Changing Circumstances depicts a less overt reference to war; no one is brandishing weapons and a more contemplative, reflective mood prevails amongst the uniformed figurines.
While these works bear a family resemblance to Mike’s previous works, they show a noticeable progression in expression and style.
For the models used in Changing Circumstances, Mike bought, assembled and painted plastic kits; a long-ago pleasure reignited.