We had the good fortune of connecting with Mike Chattem and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mike, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I pursue an artistic career because nothing else seems fulfilling or worth it. By some cosmic coincidence we’ve found ourselves spinning around a star in the infinite abyss of space, somehow sentient on a world indifferent to triumph and suffering yet perfectly conducive to human existence. Making art seems like the most meaningful way of exploring this bizarre and spectacular accident!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Lately I’ve been making relief paintings with layers of stacked and carved foam core. They have a dimensionality and texture that’s unique and exciting. I sprinkle in photo realist colored pencil drawings that contrast and play with the quality of the things being depicted. The paintings are maximally realized in person and triumph phenomenological interaction over vacuous screen time. They’re sort of like LSD inspired dioramas mixed with popcorn ceilings, very American, kind of gross and fun to look at.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d take them to the most beautiful spots in the city; Griffith Park, El Matador Beach in Malibu and the cliff side caves at Eagle Rock in Topanga State Park. After we’d hit the Broad, LACMA and all the galleries.
In between I’d show them all the amazing food LA had to offer and take them to some of my favorite restaurants: Sanamluang in Thai town, brunch at Home in Los Felix, the secret King Taco truck, India Sweets and Spices, Donuts at Randy’s, and my sidewalk taco spot on Vermont and Santa Monica for some late night Al Pastor and horchata.
After we could get a beer at Crawfords before catching a noise set at some DIY warehouse spot. *Chef’s kiss*
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutout to beautiful wife, Nicolette. Joseph and Crystal at St J in East Hollywood, Lee Piechocki and Eric Hancock; Dougie, Ryan, Kit, Jason, Dante, Lyle and my other road dogs.
My fam in Cleve and my boys in Providence. Mom and Dad forever and my brother George. Love you guys!
All artwork photographed by me, headshots photographed by George Chattem.