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The Reader - Mychael Barratt

Mychael Barratt

Mychael Barratt is a printmaker and painter born in Toronto, Canada and has been living and working in the UK since 1984. His works are full of detail and humour and depict visual narratives, often confidently pilfering famous characters from art history.

Maps have become increasingly prevalent in Mychael’s work showing events from famous historical dates and themes showing his love of London and art history. His popular range of works featuring famous artists thought history and their pets, cleverly re-created in the original artist’s style, allows the work to register with viewers and adds a humorous sense of déjá vu.

London also has its place among Mychael’s work, with works such as Notes from the Underground in honour of the 150th anniversary of the London Underground. It is a four-plate etching and relief print combining a stylised map of the London Underground with 270 specific references to all of the stations. There is a short film showing Mychael working on this piece in his studio which can be viewed by clicking here.

Mychael mostly uses etching techniques but also enjoys lithography and screen-printing. The art of printing by hand is of the utmost importance to most printmakers, Mychael Barratt included. He states that, to him, printmaking by hand is what distinguishes them as ‘original prints’.

Mychael works in his shared printmaking studio and home painting studio. When starting a new piece he uses observational sketches, photos and imaginative drawings to work out an idea. The length of time needed to create a work varies hugely; the plate work can be done in a single day for small pieces whilst larger work like A London Map of Days spanned a year from start to finish.

Background

Mychael Barratt ducked into the Royal Festival Hall to avoid rain one day, discovering the work of Chris Orr in the main hall. He was so inspired by his prints that he signed up for a course in etching the next day. Mychael studied at Central St. Martin’s School of Art in London and since graduating he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, and elected its President in 2013.

As a child Mychael was very creative and constantly drawing.
“When asked to write down what we wanted to be when we grew up, for my answer the teacher read out that 'Mychael wants to be a drawer?' Amidst the laughter of the other children I protested 'no, it's meant to be a draw-er'.”

Mychael is inspired by books, theatre, films and most importantly, art. Mychael finds much of his inspiration from one of his favourite places; Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. He was the commissioned artist for the Globe Theatre throughout Mark Rylance’s reign as Artistic Director. He also has a fondness for Hogarth and other English narrative artists who pursue the art of storytelling through painting and printmaking.

“The more time and effort that is made on a large piece the more chance there is of things going off in unexpected directions which are both charming and challenging. My favourite piece for its simplicity and success at fulfilling my original concept would be Hockney's dog.”
At For Art Sake’s Ealing printmakers gallery we have a large variety of Mychael Barratt’s prints available to buy.

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