RETIREMENT can’t come quick enough for Mike Robinson – so he can begin the hard work of being a professional artist.

The 63-year-old Salford painter, who shares his work on Facebook, still does long shifts at a fuel depot but hopes to start his new career in two years’ time.

He has recently moved into a new upstairs studio on Dorchester Road, Swinton, where he is developing his style.

The former newspaper cartoonist, who uses the pseudonym “Miker” with the ‘r’ standing for this surname, said: “I’ve always got art on my mind and I appreciate other people’s art.

“I’m pretty confident my paintings will sell but I hope to keep improving them and experimenting more.

“I like to ‘throw paint’ and work very fast in emotional bursts. There are no rules with what I do. This is very liberating.”

The self-taught and self-funded artist works mostly in acrylic and his modern, impressionist and colourful floral creations are becoming his trademark.

Initially planning to become an art teacher, the grandfather-of-four and father-of-four has created over a thousand paintings, some of which are being exhibited in Masa-UK gallery in Bury until Christmas.

Gallery owner Matija Sapundzieska said: “Mike is very appreciated by the visitors, especially those who like abstract and want to find their own way to experience and enjoy art.

“We like his work and find it very inspirational and relaxing; I would definitely have it on my wall.

“We’ve sold a few pieces and one of his paintings was sold the day after it was presented at the gallery.”

Mike’s paintings in Masa-UK gallery in Bury. Picture Mike Robinson
Mike’s paintings in Masa-UK gallery in Bury. Picture: Mike Robinson

Pictures of the artwork are uploaded on Facebook and receive feedback from all around the world.

Mike specifies his audience as “mostly women”, although admits he hasn’t yet established a customer base.

John Anderson from Canada expressed interest in buying the artist’s painting on Facebook after which Mike gifted him a copy through a mutual friend.

John, 64, said: “Mike is a brilliant artist who has shown his great ability in several different areas from landscapes to models.

His representation of poppies proudly hangs in my home just outside of Toronto.

“When I first saw this beautiful piece of art, I immediately contacted Mike to first congratulate him on such a fine piece of work and to let him know of my interest.

“I’ve always encouraged Mike to devote more time to his craft. He has a great talent that should be showcased much more than has been in the past.”

The pair have never met but chat regularly through Facebook.

poppies
The painting which was a gift from Mike to John, with a plaque on the frame saying “There is a corner in a foreign field”. Picture: John Anderson

Mutual friend Hilary MacKay, 61, said: “I was able to deliver a painting from Mike to a friend of my husband’s in Canada last year – it was so amazing to see him dissolve in tears when he realised we had a painting from Miker Art for him.

“Mike has an immense talent; he is so versatile, but he takes his art so seriously. I have known him since we were teenagers.

“I know he’s really aching for the day when he can be what he thinks is a ‘proper artist’. I wish he could see what a total artist he already has become!”

Mike often walks his five-year-old dog Gizmo, who is a Japanese Chin and Kings Charles spaniel cross, in Victoria Park in Swinton, where he says he must have photographed “every bush and every flower”.

“I can quickly develop photos into an impressionist painting,” he said.

“Your brain is filling gaps and coming alive when you’re looking at something which is buzzing.

“I’m always exhausted at the end because my brain works so hard but that’s the point of impressionism, the sacred period of art.”

 

The artist runs a “little art club” with neighbouring children, letting them paint in his kitchen every couple of weeks.

His plans for the future involve writing a children’s book, which he has successfully tested with the club.

Mike takes inspiration from German painter, draughtsman and muralist Ralph Gilbert, whom he follows on Facebook.

By DominiKa Piasecka
@Veganjourno

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