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Mike Brady? Who?

June 24, 2010 \pm\30 6:59 pm

Recently I acquired two paintings from outsider artist Mike Brady. For those of you unfamiliar with him or his work, as I have no doubt you are, let me wax merrimental about him.

Mike Brady is a unique and offbeat wit and personality. Dry and incongruous. Insightful and incongruous. Incongruous and, well, incongruous. His mind functions simultaneously in both the high and low brow wandering betwixt the relevant and obscure, existing in the past, present, and future, examining the simplexity of it all; to put it another way, always in contradiction. Some people might say this sounds like a tortured existence. Mike Brady might say that it is.

His art though is like the Trojan Horse.  His paintings trick us and get into our brains, surprising us defenseless from the seemingly senseless non sequiturs. One gets a feeling that painting for Mike Brady is a way of coping in this crazy, fucked up world. They are a way of battling the day-to-day mundanity. For the pencil- and pixel-pushers among us, his paintings capture a forgotten or perhaps vuja day joie de vivre. They are for us the uncircumcised equivalent of a zen koan.

Mike Brady paints on rectangular pieces of wood roughly estimated at 24” by 10”. He primes multiple boards at one time then paints the landscape, always the same green grass and the same white sky background. Similarly the figures are the same too, whether named Ted or Dave or some other monosyllabic name. Every painting has a thematic and technical simplicity. This process does not change. It is not difficult to imagine Brady in a Warholian Factory surrounded by drug-addled artists and musicians as endless landscapes and one-dimensional red-pantsed men are churned out on wooden canvas after wooden canvas. It is not difficult to imagine, unless you know him.

Mike Brady’s history is another enigma of contradiction. He now lives in Georgia. But he has lived in such disparate locales as Minneapolis, MN and Greenfield Center, NY. By trade he is a copywriter, and a talented one at that. He is also a history buff and scholar. He was a high school basketball demagogue during the Reagan administration. In Minneapolis he was a security guard in an upscale hotel where he once met Tom Berringer. Mike Brady is also a connoisseur of Scotch, bearnaise sauce, and the imperceptible.

To date his paintings have appeared only in Opium Magazine www.opiummagazine.com. But I don’t remember if that was online or in print. I could not find any artwork in the Opium archives. But for those of you on Facebook, I implore you to join in the growing fantods of Mike Brady Art at http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Brady-Art/100000222467571.

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6 Comments
  1. David permalink
    June 25, 2010 \am\30 10:42 am 10:42 am

    Great piece about a great man. Now Mike needs to do a piece about you.

  2. June 25, 2010 \pm\30 4:06 pm 4:06 pm

    This seems pretty interesting. Does he ever exhibit anywhere? Seems like there’s not a lot of his art floating around the web to explore.

  3. June 25, 2010 \pm\30 10:47 pm 10:47 pm

    Like his paintings. He should rock etsy.

    Also, I’m intrigued by your use of hollandaise. Or is that a remoulade?

  4. Michael Costello permalink
    July 1, 2010 \am\31 1:16 am 1:16 am

    He’s not really shown anywhere. Although he definitely has enough for a show…I met him in Saratoga and have a Trilogy of “Ted…” join his Facebook page, as far as I know that’s currently the only place to see his collection. A Web site is being developed, but there’s no telling when it will be up and running. He’s an amazing person, artist, writer, thinker…I felt compelled to write about him out of love, respect, scotch, and hollandaise…not remoulade [[haha].

  5. Michael Costello permalink
    July 1, 2010 \am\31 1:23 am 1:23 am

    Etsy? Huh? I probably should know but either don’t or can’t recall at the moment…

    Melissa, really enjoying yo’ book btw…my girlfriend bought me a copy after reading some of your posts. Regifted might be truer, she read it first…

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