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Artist Spotlight / Mike Stout
I always struggle when people ask me what style my work is, I usually end up saying something along the lines of… “Detailed black ink drawings of weird trippy stuff” I’m sure there’s a more academic way of defining it, but lets just call it what it is shall we. In terms of materials I use, I usually start with pencil to work out the logistics of the idea, then the only thing I use after that really is a Rotring 0.1mm pen, which I find to be a trusty pen steed to get the detail I’m after. As for the reason for drawing things, I moved around a lot as a kid because of my dad’s job so it meant I had to find my own way of amusing myself at home. Drawing was something I could invest time into and not have it taken away when I had to move again and I think seeing my dad loosing his job allot made me want to follow a career path that was more independent, a job that despite who your employer is you still can be proud over what you have created - instead of working in a company that just saw you as another disposable cog in the machine. So I guess that’s when the ‘seed’ of wanting to draw got planted. Another compelling thing about drawing is that it tends not to require a lot of equipment, a pen and paper was enough for me then, and still is 10 years later.
I can condense my main sources of inspiration into 4 simple categories:
Conversations, Documentaries, nature and substances – Conversations with friends have played a huge part in almost every one of my drawings, most of my ideas have stemmed from stoned conversations and conspiracy like tangents I’ve had with people, every person has a different pool of knowledge so seems a waste not to go for a little paddle. Since leaving school I obtain most of my education from documentaries, which I find to be incredibly useful in learning about subjects you wont be seeing anytime soon on the biased mainstream news. We live in a world that is controlled by banks & corporations, evil masked villains of which influence the news and corrupt governments in order for them to obtain more wealth and power, this is an aspect of our world that deeply bothers me. I went to a ‘shadow puppet theatre’ once in Vietnam and the performance summed up the state of our world in a nutshell… people controlling other people from the shadows to create the illusion of democracy, which is what’s happening in almost every government, parliament or monarchy around the world right now. Also since I was a little kid Iv always been fascinated with nature and how complex and beautiful it is, I feel that we have become too detached from our natural roots and that the human race prioritises the advancement of technology over the preservation of our natural environment. Why on earth (nice pun right) would we as a species not see our own habitat and home as something worth protecting?
The natural environment also produces some of the most beneficial and useful substances available to us on the planet. I notice allot of people are ashamed or even embarrassed about admitting they take certain substances because of how society judges such things. I say… balls to that, psychedelics in particular have given me some of my best ideas and because of that I feel it’s my responsibility to be honest about the source of inspiration. I guess out of all the subjects I have chosen to work on, the topic of psychedelics has been the one of which I find most compelling to explore, not just because of their effects on the mind & body, more importantly why ‘the powers that be’ see them as such a threat, not to mention how significant a role they have had in the very development of our species. This year after researching into DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) for nearly 4 years I got to finally try it, and lets just say that even after reading almost all the books, research papers, scientific studies that I could lay my eyeballs on, the experience itself was far beyond anything I could of ever comprehended, it was an experience that has benefited me dramatically. Psychedelic substances are indeed amazing, but it goes without saying that they need to be treated with great respect and understanding, so if you are considering doing them, do your research before, don’t go jumping in the deep end before you know the temperature of the water sorta thang. Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, Rick Strassman and Chris Hancock have taught me allot on the subject of psychedelics and I strongly recommend looking at their work because they are wicked smart and they will most likely blow your mind into little bits, but in a good way.
As for the direction I hope to take my work, Over the past couple years I’ve fallen rather deep into the subject of conspiracies, which obviously just saying the word ‘conspiracy’ flags up ‘crazy’ in most peoples brain, but I cant really think of another word to sum up what subjects I find most fascinating. I’ve always been greatly inspired by how powerful illustration can be in bringing awareness to subjects of great importance, the ability to say something without needing to utter a single word, something that makes people think or revaluate WTF is actually going on, this is what I hope to achieve with my work in the future.
Website - www.stoutisland.com
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook - mikestoutsdrawing