MJMike was born in Manchester in 1962 and he explains here some of his early experiences that influence his artwork today.

My upbringing is full of treasured memories that inspire my work…. selling my mums best coat to the rag and bone man for a few balloons, holidaying at Blackpool and Rhyl, Donkey rides, Punch and Judy, sand in my butties and my mum on Prize Bingo always bring a smile to my face. This is naturally what I choose to paint. I love to share the humour of life in my work.

If I paint a street scene with kids playing football, I believe the painting should have all the elements of the moment, even the old lady telling us to go and play round your own end, dogs getting amorous with each other and the dimp picker collecting fag ends from the pavements. The inclusion of these wonderful memories makes my paintings much more interesting.

Mike now live in Somerset, where local beaches bring extra inspiration to his paintings and living near the coast gives him the opportunity to collect reference for his new paintings. As Mike says, I love to people watch, witnessing holiday romancers, beach bums, screaming kids high on candy floss and day trippers trying to enjoy their day whilst over-laden with bucket and spades, carrier bags full of butties, flasks of tea and sand sodden towels, queuing for the charrabang to go home…deep joy.It has always been my dream to be able to earn a living as an artist and I feel so lucky to have my hobby as a job.