Lunacy and sauciness

Mike Clay
Mike Clay
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Learn more about the working world of a Sunderland artist who’s inspired by walking through the streets of the North East.

Mike Clay is one of more than 200 artists who are throwing open the doors of their studios in Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley to give people the chance to learn about their work.

As well as getting a glimpse into the working practices of the artists, visitors can also buy some of the original work, listen to live music and take part in interactive workshops.

Mike, who has held workshops at schools in Sunderland and County Durham, says he is inspired by children’s games, student excess and unusual adult behaviour.

“Assuming the role of house husband after the birth of my son, I began to explore the immediate locality.

“Pushing Tom around the parks, the beaches and on public transport we met a bewildering array of people who would volunteer part of their lives – later forming my subject matter,” he explains.

“These paintings are made on sized, partially primed hardboard. Acrylic and poster colour are applied by brush and rag and removed with sandpaper and Stanley knife blade.”

He added: “A surreal oddness in many of the works stems from observed fact. I am greatly intrigued by the intricate relationships between animals, children and the adult world. I seek to celebrate the un-remarked, ephemeral and borderline criminal activities going on around me.

“My subjects are the goings-on in the next street, the outward expression of a latent lunacy and just general sauciness.”

The Ouseburn Open Studios event sees venues open their doors from 10am to 5pm on November 23 and 24.

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