Mike Stricklin began painting as an art student at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey in 1972. He studied with Mel Leipzig, an art professor who is considered one of New Jersey’s most accomplished painters. Mike had just returned from military service as a Marine in Vietnam when he enrolled in art school to explore his creative passions.
He continued to study art and art history at the University of Rhode Island, where he attended on a soccer scholarship, graduating in 1977. He then played soccer professionally and coached at Harvard University for three years. He was inducted into the New England Soccer Hall of Fame in 2009.
He spent the last 15 years working as a Production Art Manager for Adidas before retiring at the end of 2017. While he has been painting for many years, he has spent much of the last year working in his art studio at home. As an avid stand up paddler, he has been continually inspired by the colors and textures of the water and sky, and he illustrates his visual experiences into his artwork.
He had a solo show in Wakefield, RI in August 2018, “Expressionist Visions: A Surfer’s View From The Surface.” His work is currently being shown in Charlestown Gallery, Charlestown, RI, where he can often be seen playing guitar at their openings.
Mike’s work is also on display at The Break Hotel in Narragansett.
Inspired by water, illumination, movement
Upon reflection of my most recent paintings, I am reinforced in the belief that who I am, how I operate, and how I navigate in this world and lifetime coincide with the multi-layered, overlapping, wide strokes displayed on my painted canvases. I have learned that the intimate exercise of implementing artistic creation is reflective of one’s life experiences, family, work, and innate love in the interpretation of any artistic endeavor no matter what the applied medium.
That “interpretation” at its basic level is what we do each day. The choices we make and how we interact on a daily basis formulate our basis for perspectives, for our career, for each and every path we choose to move". forward.
My career and life choices have been multi-faceted. They have brushed a multitude of disciplines and have resulted in exploring the margins of recognized athletic achievements, military service, and decades of engagement in a Macintosh digital revolution. The key term “workflow”, used within many work environments, is synonymous to our lives in relation to what we do and how we succeed, falter, learn, and adjust throughout this process.
My latest paintings are artistic expressions inspired from my multitude of coastal encounters as a surfer and stand up paddle (SUP) wave rider. The images of colors, light, movement and motion that I experience on the water are illustrated as paint on canvas.
If I had a mantra it would be derived from Tennyson’s Ulysses:
“I am a part of all that I have met: Yet all experience is an arch where through gleams that untraveled world, whose margin fades forever and forever when I move”
My latest paintings are artistic expressions inspired by my coastal encounters as a surfer and stand up paddle (SUP) wave rider. The colors, complex layering, energy and motion reflected in my work are attempts to interpret the dramatic beauty of our Rhode Island coastal environments.
Each day our senses are visually impacted by reflections, refractions, and shadows that weave our landscapes of perception. We seek to ground ourselves in comprehending and navigating our terrain before us. I see my work as an existential snapshot, an attempt to express these sensory experiences in a creative language of color and movement.
Mixing and scraping a combination of pigments, while layering and smoothing the wide strokes, are my attempts to create a window to a new visual experience. What finalizes a work of art for me lies in its innate visual passion, its sense of unique color combinations, conveying new shapes and depth of composition. What emerges after completion is the title for the painting.
This transpires as if the new work, having a life of its own, speaks
it’s own truth.