Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October 11, 2011, Mikey

I have spent the morning stitching and thinking about the passing of a friend. 
I remember the first time I met Mikey.  I was sharing studio space at E-1 Studio Collective with artist Sage Tucker-Ketcham.  She came in and said this guy Mikey is coming by to work on some collaborations, he's crazy, but a good guy, I think you'll like him.  He walked in fresh cigarette tucked behind his ear, disheveled, jittery, brown jacket, mussed up hair, and had one hell of a laugh...memorable. Fast Forward several years later, I am newly married sharing a wonderful patch of grass one Saturday at the Burlington Farmer's Market with my husband Clark, when this guy and his son come to sit beside us.  Clark introduces us, " Wylie this is my bad ass artist friend Mikey, Mikey this is my bad ass artist wife, Wylie"... we sized each other up, shook hands and said something to the effect of nice to see you again and just broke out laughing... memorable.  From then on instant friends.  Occasionally I would join Clark for a quick surprise crit at Mikey's house and garage studio, offering suggestions, listening to stories, listening to music, looking at books, and poking fun at his pain splattered crocs.  Oh yes, Mikey painted in crocs... what a generous story teller.  What a fascinating and brutally honest artist.  Clark and I took him seriously, and respected his vision even if at times it was too Basquiat, or too DeKooning, or too Twombly... Clark and Mikey could banter the hell out of each other about what the other person was doing "wrong" with regards to their style... but it was all love, mostly all talk and all for the sake of making the other better, stronger and more brilliant...
I will never forget the time I walked into Select Design to see Mikey's new work, Clark told me I was in for a surprise... Fuck he did it...before me was a new vocabulary, a visual word anthology that belonged to no other artist other than Mikey Welsh, such texture floating on a surface of depth.  His colors were amazing, rich , vibrant, thick, seductive, scary, but above all amazing.   Mikey, your art much like your life is a beautiful abstraction, I am thankful your being graced my time line, you were a great friend, a devoted artist, a father, and companion to many.  You will be missed.     

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