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Mike's Curated Collection
View Mike's favorite works from other Baker Artists
A 1975 graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, Mike McConnell worked for more than 30 years as an illustrator before focusing on his fine art. He often turns to nature for inspiration for the vivid visual stories he tells. He uses paint in a collage-like way, cutting out shapes with vibrant colors on handmade wood panels, paper, and found material.
McConnell won the President’s Best of Show award for the 2016 Biennial Maryland Regional Juried Art Exhibition for his painting Bear Carver. He is also a 2016 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award winner and a 2017 finalist for the 13th Annual Bethesda Painting Awards.
Leslie King Hammond, PHD wrote the following for my "Cutting into Art" exhibition catalog.
"MIKE McCONNELL’S JOURNEY to becoming a fine art painter began with his early training as an illustrator and graphic designer. More than thirty years of freelance commissions honed and refined his skills, whet his appetite, and challenged him to pursue his deeper passion. In the last five years, he has produced a prolific body of work. McConnell deftly utilizes the technical processes he learned as an illustrator and designer to create vibrant colors, textures, patterns, and constructed forms that function as paintings but can also be manipulated into sculptural installations or narratives in the art journals he also creates. For McConnell, this exhibition is an opportunity to present a range of works that speak to his deep passion for and love of painting and drawing.
McConnell’s imagery is drawn from his observations of people, places, and activities, often in nature. He creates remarkable scenarios of common occurrences by using bold color contrasts, patterns, lines, and textures. McConnell uses a combination of cutting; tearing; collaging; scribbling; and scratching the surface of his handmade wood panels, paper, or found materials, which results in compositions that vibrate with visual energies that excite the eye and the imagination. Each work celebrates commonplace events that, under his technical prowess, become extraordinary interpretations of the environments in which we all live—and often take for granted, thereby missing the beauty, meaning, and importance of the ordinary. McConnell was educated at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and studied with Raoul Middleman, Peter Collier, Anne Tabachnick, Abby Sangiamo, and John Sparks, skillfully accomplished painters and printmakers who provided a rigorous training in the classical beaux arts genres of drawing, painting, and printmaking. After graduating in 1975, McConnell found a productive career as a freelance illustrator, which required him to work alone on his commissions. As the demand for illustrators declined and his desire to challenge himself to explore new artistic terrain increased, he began to feel the need to be among a community of artists where he could interact, share ideas, and be inspired by artists working in different genres. In 2015 McConnell was among the first group of artists in residence in the Motor House, an arts hub located in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District of Baltimore. His studio overlooked Graffiti Alley, which offered a steady infusion of ever-changing street art. McConnell was a critical member of this community, which continues to inspire his creativity and propel his artistic vision to new frontiers of exploration and invention."