Mike Brown, Glaswegian born engineer, has a talent that needs talking about. Two years ago, Mike packed up his long career working as an oil and gas engineer to pursue his love for art. Now, Mike is showcasing some of his automotive pieces up in special exhibition in Peterhead’s Arbuthnot Museum.
In the spirit of Vintage Week at Devitt, we had the chance to ask Mike a few questions about his collection, love of motorbikes and passion for art.
What inspired you to create motorcycle art?
“I was brought up in post war Glasgow, where art was an escape into a world were all things were possible. I find all bikes really exciting to ride, illustrating and painting them is just another way of extending the excitement. I love to paint modern classics Triumph, heavily customized bikes and of course my old GT750.”
What processes do you go through to create your art?
“All my motorcycle art starts life as detailed drawings that I work up to canvas which is then painted in acrylics supported by detailed photographs of the components. One of my favourite pieces that I am pretty happy with my self-portrait with my Old GT 750, or my detailed paintings of my Harleys.”
Tell us about your love of motorcycles. Do you own any motorbikes?
“I’ve owned dozen of bikes and currently have a few. I keep an old Kawasaki GT750 on the road all year around. I’ve restored and rebuilt many bikes over the years too. Some for pleasure and some for necessity.”
Does the passion for motorcycles run in your family?
“My son also has inherited a strong interest in motorcycles. My passions for bikes came out of necessity – cheap, practical and serious fun.”
What made you decide to leave your career and go back to painting?
“After many years I was becoming a bit disillusioned and I thought it was time to move over and let some younger guys have their turn.”
How do you feel now that you have made the decision to re connect with an old passion?
“I’ve never been happier! I needed to support my family, the windows were falling out of my house so I became an engineer. I’ve always painted and always tried to make time for painting. If I couldn’t paint I could read.”
What type of person do you feel can relate to your work the most?
“I get the biggest reactions from men of all ages, who are either bikers or aspire to be. I get great feedback through social media, and I get people stopping me on street too!”
How do you feel about your art being exhibited in an art gallery?
“I’ve had a few gallery exhibitions over the last five years. I never thought anyone would be interested. What a buzz!”
Any advice for budding artist/motorcyclists out there?
“If you have a skill/gift/talent or even aspire to do something, do something about it now… ‘if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.’”
Mike’s current exhibition is running until the 8th September at Aberdeenshire Council’s Peterhead Arbuthnot Museum and Gallery. Take a look at Mike’s artwork here.