Harry Michalakeas is a British contemporary artist whose current work primarily focuses on the psychological dualities one experiences in today’s world. Born and raised in England, Harry currently resides in Dallas, Texas and his work has been featured in several group exhibitions, recently as part of ‘Distorted Mirror’, at Last Rites Gallery, New York, New York, a 6 person group show, where 5 of his pieces were featured. He is currently also represented by the gallery.
‘Tiny Terrors’, at Dark Art Emporium, Long Beach, CA, 6/9-7/7/18
‘Zodiac An Astrology Art Show’, at La Bodega Gallery, San Diego, CA, 8/11-8/20/18
‘O Coen, Where Art Thou?’, at Spoke Art, NYC, 2/3/18-2/25/18
‘Bad Dads VIII’, at Spoke Art, SF, CA travelling to Portland, OR, 10/26/17-10/29/17
’13th Hour’, at Last Rites Gallery, New York, NY, 10/28/17-11/11/17
‘Miyazaki Tribute Art Show’, at Spoke Art, New York, NY, 9/29/17-10/1/17
‘Flesh To Canvas’, NY Empire State Tattoo Expo, New York, NY, 7/14-16/17
‘David Lynch Art Show’, at Spoke Art, New York, NY, 4/8/17-4/30/17
‘Dawn Chorus’, at The Convent, Philly, 4/14/17-5/12/17
‘Distorted Mirror’, at Last Rites Gallery, New York, NY, 11/19/16 – 1/14/17
’13th Hour’, at Last Rites Gallery, New York, NY, 10/29/16 – 11/16/16
‘Flesh To Canvas’, NY Empire State Tattoo Expo, New York, NY, 7/15-16/16
‘Latent Form’, at Marcas Gallery, Santa Ana, CA, 2/6-29/16
Group exhibition at Last Rites Gallery, New York, NY, 11/15
’13th Hour’, at Last Rites Gallery, New York, NY, 10/10/15 – 11/07/15
My interest in art began as a child. My mother was an artist – drawing and painting – while my father had an artistic aptitude and had trained as a draftsman. They’ve always been unfailingly encouraging, especially during my formative years as a child.
I’ve been influenced by many artists, particularly Gustave Doré, Pamela Wilson, Lori Earley, Kit King, and David Stoupakis. There is an emotion and power in their work which I find seductive and inspiring.
While I read quite a lot, my interest in identity stems from reading “Dr. Who,” which had a lot more back story than the TV series. In the book series, there are villains, the Cybermen, who “improved” themselves through technology until finally they lost all of their humanity.
This theme of identity keeps re-occuring in my work, for example in a series of doll-like young ladies I’ve created, their faces are somewhat made of porcelain, blank, void of being. Here, I’m exploring the loss of identity in a future world where it is possible to choose our appearance through genetic engineering and conforming to the standards of beauty of that time becomes expected. In another series, depicting nuns, I celebrate the survival of identity in an environment where conformity is expected, for example, one of them sports visible tattoos. In other pieces, I explore what happens to identity at the moment of death (‘Information’), and what happens when two people’s identities merge (‘Becoming’).
Visually my work is a blend of realism and surrealism, and I produce a realism that applies to things which aren’t real.
I love when a work of art triggers a deep feeling, and the viewer is somehow seduced into analyzing the artist’s mind. Usually the viewer can’t quite pin down what the artist feels while creating art; however if the interaction yields a powerful enough emotional reaction, for me, that is clearly a breakthrough. A mind has been changed, slightly. Something has happened. I believe that we can pass through the heightened appreciation of beauty in the world just by observing it, and of course by making art.
My work has moved through different phases. At first I attempted to represent reality with a clarity to show my eye – objective reality; now, I’m evolving as an artist trying to open more fully my mind’s eye. While my older works were all graphite, I’ve since explored new mediums. My more recent works are achieved with a combination of soft black pastel, carbon, charcoal and graphite. I love how this allows me to extend my range far beyond what can be achieved with graphite, yet retain the all the subtlety. I apply the pastel with a variety of brushes, painting it on, and building it up gradually layer by layer.
I think part of my personal process of making art is to now show it, coming out of my shell, in a way. Since my artwork is an extension of my personality, I’m ready to confront and even challenge my audience – to embrace, in some ways, my own identity.