Mr Likey, a contemporary pop artist originally from Hong Kong, relocated to the U.S. at an early age. After graduating from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, he catapulted his career by winning the “Golden Key Art Award.” Likey draws inspiration from popular culture and art history, with a strong influence from American animation.
Likey fuses elements of street culture and famous American cartoon characters in his work, crafting new iconic symbols that pop with a vivid aesthetic. This creative approach is exemplified in his notable mash-ups, which include combining Homer Simpson and Mickey Mouse to create a new character called “Homie.”
Once I have an idea which I feel excited with, I make several sketches until I’m satisfied with it for the painting.
Likey’s work carries the unmistakable aura of a must-have collector’s piece, drawing attention from pop art enthusiasts. His recognition continues to grow with features in Hypebeast and exhibitions in both New York and Hong Kong. In this interview, we learn more about the artist behind the mask, exploring his inspirations and creative process.
Q: First things first, why do you do what you do?
Mr Likey: If you mean painting, I love painting, and there’s no reason about it, it just makes me feel good when I paint and create.
Q: What is your inspiration?
Mr Likey: I get inspired by different artists, popular elements and art history.
Q: What is your creative process when you’re creating?
Mr Likey: Once I have an idea which I feel excited with, I make several sketches until I’m satisfied with it for the painting.
Q: What would you say is an integral part to the work of an Artist?
Mr Likey: I would say being creative with ideas and making new work consistently.
Q: What is the reason behind your use of American cartoons in your pieces?
Mr Likey: Cartoons are what I watch every day after school, so it means something to me; also, American cartoons are universally recognizable.
Q: When do you know when a piece is finished?
Mr Likey: When I know, I shouldn’t add any more on a piece, and then it’s finished.
Q: What is your favourite piece from your collection?
Mr Likey: It’s hard to pick just one piece, right now I’m having fun with my Donut Bears collection, any piece which I have fun creating is my favourite piece.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing for you about being a part of the Art Industry?
Mr Likey: Being able to create works that people like is the most rewarding thing.
Q: Is there anything that worries you about how social media is affecting the promotion of artists?
Mr Likey: Just being consistent with new posts, keeping your post interesting and original
Q: Do you have any advice for artists starting out and don’t know where to begin?
Mr Likey: Don’t overthink, do what you like, and improve yourself continuously, if you are good enough, good things will happen.
Q: What would you say is the best way of getting your art noticed in the age of the internet?
Mr Likey: Honestly, I don’t know either, and I would like to know too.
Q: Are there any places where you feel Art and Technology really shouldn’t overlap?
Mr Likey: Not that I could think of right this moment, there’s no defined way to do art, and if the technology is your thing then more power to you.