Friday, December 14, 2012

Dollar Bin Horror Spotlight - The Dark Art of Mike Vanderhoof

Mike Vanderhoof truly is a modern day jack of all trades. A tattoo artist, a musician, and an artist in every sense of the word, Mike has a long list of accomplishments and an even more impressive portfolio of paintings and art. His paintings use bold colors and vibrant detailing to capture the feel and horror of each piece. I had a lot of fun looking through his site at all of his work. He is simply talented beyond words and I was delighted to be able to as a few questions and to share a few pieces of his work with all of you.

What got you started in the art world?
I've literally been doing art since I could hold a pencil. When I was little I was a total "Monster-Kid" Horror fan. I was super into comics, and MAD Magazine and I would always copy the issues and my favorite characters.  I guess that's where it kinda started. As a teen, I began painting a lot instead of drawing. I think I fell in love with that medium because you could do big, elaborate sizes and subject matter, as opposed to a sheet of paper. Then in my 20's, I started displaying my work in small galleries and coffee shops, and suddenly found I could sell my art. I opened my own Tattoo Parlor in 2000 in Fullerton, CA and once it became my job to Tattoo everyday, I found myself sort of uninspired to paint anymore when my work day was done, after having to constantly be creative everyday and think of new Tattoos for clients. When I closed my shop in 2010, a few months later I got the bug again, feeling the need to pick up a paint brush after a 10 year hiatus. I feel like in these last 2 years of painting, I've truly begun to find my style, and the work I've done in this time is definitely some of my best since I started. So as I accumulated a new body of work, I hit the gallery circuit again, mainly in Southern California., Arizona, and Las Vegas, and things have been going well, trying to get my art seen as much as possible.

Where do you get your inspiration and how long does it take to finish a piece?
I usually try to finish one new piece a week, always staying productive. Inspiration comes from everywhere. Horror films are a huge part. Also surfing the net checking out other artist's work is always inspiring. I started keeping a list recently of subject matter I want to paint at some point, because after I finish a piece I can never remember a cool idea I wanted to do next. Sometimes I have commissioned projects where I have to put my own stuff on hold, but there's always time to get back to it.

What is your medium of choice to work with?
I usually work with acrylics on canvas. That's my favorite. I like using bold, psychedelic colors and fighting them with lots of black. The contrast between the two is part of my little niche, which is ultimately what an artist is trying to do, find his "niche", to find and develop your own style which at some point can be identified upon sight. There's a lot of artists who have accomplished that, where as soon as you see a piece of art, you instantly know who did it without even seeing a signature.

Where do you see your artwork in 10 years?
Well I've been in the trenches doing as many gallery shows as I can. Paying my dues and trying to get as large of an audience as I can. Hopefully soon I can get an agent so I can get shown in the big galleries where there's a built-in clientele paying big bucks. That's the problem with art, it's subjective. So what might be worth $10 to one person can be worth $10,000 to someone else. The art world is a lot of hype. People are sometimes more interested in the artist doing it than what he is actually doing. Which is always weird to me. Hopefully in 10 years I can get to a level where I can make a living from doing what I love. I would love to work as a concept artist for a film studio or video game company. That would be awesome. I'm also currently working on a book of my art, which I hope to have published one day.

Do you do commissions?
All the time. I'm currently doing some portraits for clients, and I freelance a lot for CD Covers, and T-shirt jobs. I also do murals and a lot of graphic designing for people. Anyone can get a job quote by visiting my website

What has been your favorite piece to illustrate?
I have quite a few that are my "babies" with sentimental value.  I always like taking pop culture icons, that have no business being in horror, and bringing them into the world of horror. I frequently do this. Some examples I've done is a Zombie Pee Wee herman, Zombie Pawn Stars, Guy Fieri cooking with Hannibal Lechter, and I'm currently working on a piece where the Creature from the Black Lagoon doing some spring break boating with some "girls gone wild."

Where can we learn more and buy prints?
You can visit my website and check out my art, music, videos, etc.  At the top menu bar just click "buy prints" and it'll take you to my online store.

You can also listen to a few of his songs while you're checking out his work. Mike truly is multi-talented and everyone should give his site a look!

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