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Art & Life with Mick Burson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mick Burson.

Mick, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I grew up in Waco Tx going through abandoned spaces and collecting discarded materials and documenting graffiti. The collection aspect during this time has grown with my practice and has taken on many different shapes and modes and methods of collecting. I found one of the main train yards in Waco and that is where I would make multiple trips each day. It became a revolving gallery, I could show up to and the work was always different. I would photograph colors, shapes, textures, and letter forms and once at home I would figure out why I chose to collect them. The photographing eventually led to me painting the trains as well, through painting letters I was able to learn how colors function, composition, and a strong consideration for positive and negative space. I participated in this culture for 5 years until moving into painting public walls. I moved to Denton for school and I was able to paint many walls while there and eventually made it my full-time job. I have since moved to Albuquerque where I am working on getting my master’s degree, I continue to do public work here and I also teach painting at the university.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I make inside and outside works, outside I paint large-scale public murals and inside I make works combining paint, wood, and paper. One of my main goals in working is to visually describe an emotion or event using only shape and color. Verbal communication can easily become problematic because of how humans are, visual is a more subtle and honest way to describe something and has many less limitations than verbal.

The relationship I have with my practice functions in the same way human relationships do. A lot of back and forth, you learn to be accepting, challenging things leads to new discoveries, being complacent makes everything stagnant, you are able to learn about yourself through the relationship, and you never know what to expect. I am not ever trying to possess the work and I acknowledge it has a life after I make that I am not a part of. The good work I make contains, space/air/freedom, a good energy and presence, an aspect of Deja-vu, and it celebrates everyone it encounters. I get to be a painter in this life and I take that responsibility very serious and it becomes how I live and interact with this world rather than something I do.

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
I feel like this is the most commonly assumed issue with being an artist in the United States, and I wonder sometimes if we speak about it too much and therefore it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I feel like people make time to do what they want with their lives, and sacrifices are just ways of clearing up time to do the most important thing to you. I have always been very stubborn about protecting my work and its worth and how it functions on a financial level in a way that very little of my inside work becomes publicly available. I am all for working other jobs to support myself so that I can control exactly how much of my work is available. Having an artistic practice is a gift and shouldn’t be extorted for financial gain and it’s important to figure out where that balance is on a personal level. Be stubborn, make sacrifices, make the work you want to make, and never expect a set schedule.

“You can only go to the well so many times before it dries up”- Glenn Downing

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I have a website that I poorly manage and Instagram account I spend too much time on. The site is and IG handle is @Mickburson. I am represented by Richard Levy Gallery here in Albuquerque and they are really good about organizing the work and making it available to people who are interested.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All taken for my use

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