Michael Hanrahan’s overwhelming force behind his creative process is a pure desire to paint. His work is often caught in the whirlwind of the carnivalesque, motifs of absurd exaggeration and contrasting subjects, providing a mental space in which his poetic imagery can emerge.
Michael’s work is dictated by almost anything; a fleeting thought, an old painting, a song or a poem, the mess in his bedroom, a crack in the wall, a jovial conversation with friends and everything in between.
Within the disorder of life, Michael waits for the windows of opportunity to open, and once they do, he meanders through, escaping from his day to day. Then he paints. Michael primarily works with oils on wood, preferring the robust surface of timber to canvas along with the application of paint more suitable to how he handles the brush.
Michael also practices drawing and writing, penning short stories and prose, noting writing as sometimes just as necessary to him as painting. Michael was recently selected as one of eight painters to be featured in the prestigious Freelands Painting Prize 2020 exhibition.
Q: First things first, why do you do what you do?
A: I haven’t figured out how to do anything else.
Q: What is your inspiration?
A: Anything. There’s potential inspiration in absolutely anything, so this is a very vague question for me and I don’t really know how to answer it.
Q: What is your creative process when you’re creating?
A: If I haven’t already decided on what I wish to paint – I’ll just start to paint and see what happens, something will eventually pull out an idea.
Q: Which is your preferred surface for working on?
A: Any type of wood, it’s pretty easy to get a hold of – especially if you don’t mind picking things up from the street or going into skips.
Q: What would you say is an integral part of the work of an Artist?
A: Making (or trying to make) something you find interesting.
Q: What artist inspires you the most?
A: If I had to choose it would be Hieronymus Bosch or Francisco Goya, but really it can change any minute of the day – any painting has the potential to make me want to paint or create something and this also applies to any form of art/artist
Q: What is the reason behind your fusion of motifs of absurd exaggeration with contrasting subjects in your work?
A: It just seems to be the natural function of my brain and the imagery I tend to create.
Q: How do you know when a piece is finished?
A: I rarely do. The closest, I suppose, I get is not knowing how to fix something without the greater risk of fucking it up even more.
Q: What is your favourite piece from your collection?
A: I don’t really have one.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing for you about being a part of the Art Industry?
A: I wouldn’t say I was part of the Art Industry, I don’t really know what it is. I just like to paint, anything more than that I’m not too concerned about.
Q: Is there anything that worries you about how social media is affecting the promotion of artists?
A: Nope. I imagine that the use of social media probably allows more and a further spread promotion of an artist.
Q: In your opinion, do you have any advice for artists on how to manage their social media image? Or does it even need managing?
A: Do something extreme to get yourself noticed, otherwise don’t bother – It’s not really that important.
Q: Are there any places where you feel Art and Technology really shouldn’t overlap?
A: Not that I can think of, If it can be done well then it’s worth trying.