Mike Oncley is a Southern California portrait artist specializing in mixed media. Mike's art has hung in galleries in Seattle and Los Angeles and are easy to recognize with their distinct color palette and small hidden details. What started as a hobby, cutting stencils and spray painting celebrity faces in his garage, quickly turned into a passion for creating fun and original art for friends and art lovers alike. As Mike’s style progressed over the years, art became his outlet for creativity and humor, from illustrations and paintings to mixed media art using items like broken glass, coffee beans, cigarettes, and bullet casings to create his portraits. Search for Mike Oncley on YouTube to see his time-lapsed art creation videos from over the years and be sure to say “hey!” to him on Instagram.
We recently asked Mike some questions about his inspirations:
Q: Where do you find your creative inspiration?
A: "I get inspired by people; the stories they have and the lives they affect."
Q: Why do you do what you do?
A: "Creating art is a beautiful balance of taking something recognizable and putting a personal spin on it, one that no one else is putting on it. I love that uniqueness in handmade art; it's something rare and very special."
Q: What art/artist do you most identify with?
A: "I identify with abstract art, even though that isn't the art I create myself. I can look into a good abstract painting for hours and find all the little pieces that remind me of real life. There is something exciting about looking at brush strokes that can trigger your memories like that."
Q: What role does an artist have in society?
A: "An artist's job in society is to open the viewers mind to new ideas. That may be a person they've never heard of or an abstract idea that never crossed their mind until seeing this art. Enlightening others on new ideas can help them move forward with their own and come to conclusions they may have never arrived at prior. "
Q: What is your artistic outlook on life?
A: "Make art for yourself, the rest will follow."
Q: What advice would you give your younger self?
A: "Keep creating! You may not always have the time to create art but never stop exercising that artistic muscle. Even if it's as simple as a doodle on a napkin, something is better than nothing at all."