Share & Connect
Michael Okey was born and raised in Miami, Florida and grew up with his parents who were extremely supportive of him and his love for art. Since the 4th grade Michael has attended Magnet art schools (schools which have an emphasis on art programs) and was always at the top of his class. He’s won numerous awards, contests and metals throughout his education and is now attending the Art Center College of Design. When Michael was in high school he had his work displayed in numerous gallery shows (and sold work) and being exposed to that kind of environment at such a young age really opened his eyes to what one could do in the art world. Micheal feels that “art is universal and always in demand, and if anyone tells you you’ll starve being an artist, they’re lying. If art is a dream and passion, go for it. It’s a decision I would never regret. I’m so thankful that I was able to live the life I have and experience life growing up as an artist and never thinking I was going to be anything else”.
ToonariPost (TP): How and when did you first start practicing your art (are you traditionally trained or self-taught)?
Michael Okey (MO): I actually started drawing early in my life, 4 maybe? and it wasn’t until the end of third grade that my mom noticed how much I loved art and she made me apply for the top art magnet elementary school in my area. Ever since the fourth grade I have been in intensive art schools. So to answer your question, I’ve been traditionally taught.
TP: What mediums do you use for your art work? Which is your favorite and why?
MO: When it comes to my work on my DeviantART account it’s 98% digital (Photoshop and Painter 11) with a few oil and acrylic paintings thrown in. I love both though, for different reasons. For me, Photoshop and Painter are awesome, they’re quick, easy and super versatile. I love just throwing textures, filters and brushes all together and seeing the crazy outcome, whether I use it or not isn’t the point. I think all digital mediums give artists the freedom to experiment and not worry about the final result because you could always go back in history or delete delete delete!
My true love, though, is painting traditionally (oils and acrylics). There is one thing that traditional will always have on digital, its surface. When you finish a painting, the tangible nature of the finished product always excites me. In my opinion, it’s much easier to get lost in a varnished painting than it is to get lost in a glossy print. There’s nothing like it.
TP: What piece of your work is your favorite and why? Which one are you most proud of?
MO: To be honest, I don’t have a favorite. The pieces I love the most are usually the ones I work on last. Each piece is a new challenge and for me, the challenge is my favorite part of any and every piece. Not every piece I work on I feel is a success, though, and because of this I find that “If looks could kill”, “Set fire to the rain”, and “Let it Burn” are my best pieces thus far (strictly speaking about digital pieces). They are the most balanced, well rounded (color, value, composition, etc.) pieces in my gallery.
TP: When you first started, did you ever hit any bumps in your art process. How did you overcome them?
MO: Everyday of my life. Artwork is hard. There are so many factors involved, composition, color, lighting, staging, value, saturation, etc., the list goes on and on. Each new piece is a new challenge and like every artist you just have to solve the problem at hand. My key to problem solving, reference. Whenever you’re not sure of what color something should be or how light affects a certain surface, look it up. The information and the answer to your problems are out there, you just have to go and search for them.
Image Courtesy of Michael Okey