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MICHAEL C: Hey Michael, I absolutely love your work. First off, I hate to compare artists and your work is nothing like what Basquiat did, but your work does have an almost obsessive, visionary, allegorical busyness that also characterizes Basquiat's work. What do you think? 

MICHAEL G: I don’t mind comparisons. I think it shows that viewers are really looking at art and connections to art history. It can be flattering if the artist is any good. LOL!

MICHAEL C: Ha Ha!

MICHAEL G: It’s interesting to me - and really accurate - that you see in the work, “obsessive, visionary, allegorical busyness.” I think an artist's work reflects their personality. We all have influences in one way or another, right?

With Basquiat in particular, he was always an art hero with a freedom and uninhibited nature I was drawn to. I first got the chance to see his work in New York while I was attending Pratt, this was in 92' or 93’. The Whitney was having a retrospective, I believe his first, and it was only about five years after his untimely death. I had no idea who he was prior to the exhibition

I find influence fascinating. It can hurt you or work for you. You’ve got to be yourself in everything you do or else you run the risk of really saying nothing in your work. If you have your own ideas (your own way of seeing things), good discipline and sound technique, it’ll take you far.

That said, there’s always a challenge for a working artist - to be current, relevant and yet unique - this can be a good challenge, however not falling for trends that you have no passion for.

Comparisons are a natural act of involvement for the viewer. We can’t help it. We all compare things we see and experience based on prior knowledge. Isn’t that why we create art, because of influence or inspiration and of course the need to say something that we hope is important?

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