Healing Beauty, is a solo exhibition showcased at and by Opera Gallery, named after the feature collection of artist, Mike Dargas.
Having garnered an enormous following in recent years via social media, Köln-born artist, Mike Dargas has rose to a certain degree of fame- thanks to his incredible talent for creating photorealistic portraits. His latest collection of works to be displayed at Opera Gallery, is composed of a series of large scale close-up portraits of predominantly female models, depicted with various liquid and fabric substances dripping from and/ or down their faces- typical of his hyper-realistic style.
Within these paintings, Dargas intends to capture what he calls “snapshot(s)” of emotion(s), creating a sense of intimacy with the subject for the viewer to an almost (if not arguably, definite) sexually provocative extent. Unrelentingly during interviews, Dargas sites the art of Caravaggio and Dali as major sources of inspiration for him since having started painting.
Healing Beauty is set to display fifteen new works from Dargas’ latest collection.
Below, an interview with Dargas for WOAW- discussing his own personal experiences with art:
W: Tell us a bit about yourself.
MD: I started painting in my early childhood and cannot remember my very first painting. Although I was able to join an adult art class for a year, I was not aware of being the [only] child amongst adults [only just] how much I loved it! Being able to express myself in art opened [up] a whole new world to me. Professionally, my first work was The Ecstasy of Gold (2014). Although I had started painting before 2014, this particular piece feels like my first painting as it had started my artistic career.
W: You were a tattoo artist; from a sub-cultural art form to high art, why the transformation?
MD: My whole life I have been sketching, drawing and painting. Tattooing gave me a chance to do what I loved for a living, which is create art. But in tattooing I was quick to find that the artist was much more of an artist for hire, who could only use their style to express what the client wanted. As a fine artist, I am able to paint and create that which pleases me as opposed to a client’s request.
W: Your work is sensual and sexual, what is the inspiration behind this? What were you painting before you had established this style?
MD: Some call it eroticism, others sensuality or aesthetics. To me it is about the beauty within every
personality or moment; questioning whether my works are sexually explicit is simply a [question] in perspective. I have always [focused] on faces for years, even as a tattoo artist, however- I was curious about the effects of the human body so that is why I have also painted those in my latest series, Healing Beauty.
W: People seem to be more accepting and interested in sexuality in contemporary art, what’s your opinion on this?
MD: People have certainly become more accepting of sexuality in art, I’m not sure if they have become more interested. For me personally I think it’s nice that more artists’ works can be accepted.
W: What are your predictions for contemporary art forms in the next 5 years?
MD: I think we are in a very exciting time for art and artists; it is a beautiful period where more and more artists are able to [showcase] works and push forward with different types of art and creativity.
W: What kind of art do you like? Who is your favourite artist?
MD: Realism. Caravaggio and Dali were the reason why I focused on realism. The old masters were [the] pioneers and visionaries of their time. I love their works and have admired them since I was a child. I still feel connected to them [through] my work and try to build a bridge [via] traditional to modern painting.
Healing Beauty will run till the 9th of February, 2018 at Opera Gallery (W Place, 52 Wyndham Street, Central). Opera Gallery is open on Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am till 7:00 pm, and on Sundays at 12:00 pm till 6:00 pm.