Shine On You Crazy Surf Carny: The Splendidly Eerie Art of Mike Shine

When I was an early teen I discovered the amazing world of weird underground comic books such as Eightball, Zap, Lobo, and Tank Girl, as well as the music and art of off-kilter bands like White Zombie, Ween, Lords of Acid, and Primus, which led me to be enamoured of anything grotesque, strange and unusual. Had I known that Mike Shine had existed, I would have plastered him on the walls of my bedroom alongside my heroes of that era.

Shine’s world is populated with carnival themes and sinister characters, remixed with nostalgic elements and spattered with Norse mythology, all blended together and spat out in a strangely bright, lighthearted cartoon-like fashion. Using a variety of mixed media and house paint to morph and construct the world around him, Shine often turns to found objects such as cast-off carnival ephemera, bottles, buoys, spent skateboards and oddly shaped driftwood. Some of his characters are also mechanized like the old school carnival attractions from yesteryear, bringing them to life right before your eyes. His influences can be easily be perceived throughout – Kubrick, Nietzsche, and Wolfgang von Goethe are all represented in some form or another. His “art opera” installation entitled Flotsam’s Wonder World is a beautifully evil culmination of all of these things, centering upon the carnival ringleader, Flotsam – his own manifestation of Mephistopheles – and has been included in exhibitions with SFMOMA, Laguna Art Museum and The Museum of Craft and Folk Art.

To see more amazing art, check out Shine’s awesome interactive website.

Also take a look at these great shots of the making of the Surf Shack.


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