The American painter Mikey Welsh known for his colourful Jean-Michel Basquiat style canvases has died in Chicago ,age 40. Michael Edward “Mikey” Welsh was born April 20, 1971 in Syracuse New York and was best known as the former bassist of Indi band Weezer.
He played with Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo during Cuomo’s time in Boston during the hiatus in the band Homie. Following original bassist Matt Sharp’s decision to leave Weezer to focus on his group, The Rentals, Welsh was chosen to take over for him. Welsh played with Weezer from the time that they regrouped in 2000 until August 2001, when he suffered a mental breakdown. Shortly afterwards, he retired from music to focus on his art career. Welsh had 13 exhibitions of his canvases,watercolours and collages.
He was a member of Outsider Art. A quote from Welsh’s official website explains his methods of creating his art: “Welsh attacks his canvases with pure spontaneity and aggression, almost never using a brush and preferring to work only with his hands and fingers. This technique gives him the opportunity to get as close and “inside” to his paintings as he needs to be. For him, this is a necessity. Welsh also works in sculpture, working with found objects. Constructing creatures out of broken and dismantled chairs and furniture, to vacuum hoses, tupperware, wire, and rope. All painted with his usual explosion of color.”
His artwork is featured on a Burton snowboard, in a line of snowboards titled “The Farm” and he recently designed and painted the album cover for Twin Berlin’s debut album.” The Boston Globe has called Welsh’s artwork “manic, edgy, and masculine…Welsh handles his brush confidently, and his paintings read as if he sliced open a metaphorical vein and poured blood and soul onto the canvas.” Boston Magazine has said, “Many are astonishing. Not only for their subject matter – a crucified bull with a giant phallus, a life-size pope melting in the fires of hell – but also for their beauty and power. Influenced by abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock and early pop artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Welsh turns oils, acrylics, house paint, brush-stroked words, and pages torn from newspapers or porn mags into images that seduce the eye and ignite the mind.” Welsh died unexpectedly in a Chicago hotel room on October 8, 2011.
Photo: Creative Commons Mikey Welsh standing in front of some of his artwork at his home studio in Burlington, Vermont. By Jonathan K. Slingluff Licence