Mik Artistik: “There are certain people that float my boat and I just ask if I can draw them. It's not a passive job – I'm not sitting there on a stall with my work on show – I like to cause a bit of a stir. I might walk into an office, or a butcher's shop, or just knock on somebody's door.
“I struggle to remember a lot of people I draw, but I keep a book called The Bag Book about the adventures I've had. There have been some amazing and appalling things that have happened when I've been out drawing.”
“Ted was a temporary steward in a working men's club. I asked him if he would stand for a portrait – he had pints to pull and people to deal with, but he said, 'Yeah, go on then.' He showed manners in allowing himself to be drawn on a brown paper bag.”
“Roxy was a young girl in South Leeds. It's a fairly underprivileged area which is quite rough. There was no flicker on her face; she just said, 'Yeah, draw me.' There was no smiling or giggling, she was just a tough little girl.”
“Rachel was a young women, 16 or 17 years old, who was with her mother when I drew her. I get a lot of people tell me stories – they unload stuff on me. Sometimes I can't believe some of the things I've heard.”
“It was a sunny afternoon and Peter was just sitting outside – he had no money, but he had this great set of teeth. Teeth are a bugger to draw; you get them slightly wrong and the whole face can change, but I went for it.”
“I'd see this guy around Leeds a lot and I was curious, I wanted to know his story. He was a strange man: a little bit eccentric but there was a certain prophetic quality to him – he looked like John the Baptist. He was one of these characters that people see and they tend to back off, but he sat with me for 15 minutes while I drew him and he was just a gentle, thoughtful man.”
“Men tend to be more amenable. I find that women can be guarded – I think they're more conscious of how they look and they don't want to be examined. It's 15 minutes of looking into someone's eyes – it's quite unnerving for both of us really. Sometimes I fall in love with somebody and sometimes I can't wait to get away.”
“I drew my friend in biro years ago – when I had finished, it looked just like her. I was stunned. I was 27 years old and I thought, where did that come from? I'd been on the dole and doing jobs on building sites, but then I thought 'Crikey, I can draw!'
“When I've got an audience watching, there's a pressure to deliver and I find that it heightens the experience. There's often a mixed reaction to my drawings - some people say, “Oh I could do better than that,” but others say, “Cor that's you, is that! It's got one eye and it's you already!””
DECEMBER FROLICS IN THE SNOW ETC. - Tuesday November 25th 2014
Hullo gang, December takes us on a post flu tour of Halifacks , Lonndon , Leeeeds ..and BEVERLEY.
We have a new tea towel.There’s nearly two hundred in a big card board box in the spare room waiting to hit the world… and Ego Trip mugs are being considered.
It’s bin a while since we played the Square Chapel and we’re hoping for a crowd on December 3rd. I know it’s a Wednesday night,but what ‘s on the fuckin telly ?
Bleak drama’s or bakin programmes. Come on , join us on the cobbles by the old piece hall !
We are launching the Fire in the Mountain Festival in London three days later. Banjoes and mandolins may be damaged in the fun. It’s at the Courtyard, Hoxton N1.
Leeds again on Friday December 19th when we do Seven Arts Centre .The last few visits have really crackled.
Beverley…well..we’ll be running rampant at Beverley Rugby Club on December 20th , giving the lads and lasses what they want.. and an extra element. It should be very interesting! Mark Kelly brought us to Beverley last month when we had a storming visit to Farthing’s Steakhouse ,and he’s got us this one as well. Good lad.
Me cold’s gone and I’m ready.
QUARE CHAPEPEL. - Tuesday November 25th 2014
We are off to Halifax. Next Wednesday.Evening. 8pm. £12/10 tickets. You’ll be there or you’ll be Square.
this will be our fifth (?) visit. It’s always a beautiful affair .
We love the Walled Garden Stage (Five Dails) and have had some special gigs there .The one in the rain about four years ago (we played one song for forty five minutes!) is etched in my memory.
Looking forward to seeing Mr Shuttleworh and Count Arthur this year.
EDINBURGH FREEEE FRINGE - Thursday July 24th 2014
We’ll be doing Edinburgh between 2nd and 9th of August, as part of the Free Fringe. It’ll be gr-rr-eat. Looking forward to bringing the Gospel of the Ego Trip to the Scots,Yanks and Japanese up there. We play Hotel Ibis ,near Grass Market I think 5pm to 6pm (2 -9 th) and The Electric Circus 2pm to 3pm (4 – 8th)). Tell all and we should all have a ball.
What a week down in the fields of Pilton. We walked in through the crowd at Gaz Mayalls Rocket Lounge Wednesday night to a roar that built and built.By the time we got to the stage, it was deafening.
“Yorkshire! Yorkshire!! Yorkshire!!!”
We played fifteen gigs at Glasto ; mostly to big crowds who kept coming back gig after gig. They sang along to “Sweet Leaf” (they sang it all in the Fluffy Rock Cafe on Thursday night. I felt like bloody royalty!) and to “Library”..and “PLASTIC FOX”
Friday we were the only band playing at Glasto on the Summer house stage at 5 o clock , The sky opened and there was rain hail and thunder and lightning.All the power was down ;Pyramid Stage…everywhere.
Fuck it ,we carried on and we had a soggy crowd singing along for over half an hour.
It was a glorious visit and one guy said to me ,in his black Fred Perry top. “Just remember , in your darkest hour that you have loads of people that love what you do .”
He walked off and on the back of his shirt in silver writing, was printed Mik Artistika (like Metallica’s logo) Enter Strawman.
“PLASTIC FOX ” on CHANNEL 4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - Wednesday May 28th 2014
The Ego Trip finally made it to the big screen. Toby Amies director of “The Man whose Mind Exploded” filmed us performing our new ‘un “PLASTIC FOX” in lush surroundings in Stroud. It is part of Channel 4′s “Random Acts” series of short films and can be viewed on 4od till 1st June. It’ll will be available to see on Youtube later…AOOOOOOOOOO!! http://randomacts.channel4.com/#/random_acts/one/962
MIk ARTistiK’s “BAGS Of LIFe” SHoW GUARDIAN and OBSERVER WRiTE UP!!!! - Monday April 14th 2014
Read what they said about my bag drawings in the Arts section of the Observer this weekend and in the Guardian online…It’s on show in Vic Johnsons Barbers 189 Grays Inn Road , ‘tween Kings Cross and Holborn. April 25th to mid June . I was bloody excited over me poached eggs and pikelets… http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2014/apr/13/drawing
EDINBURGH!!!!! WE’RE OFF TO THE FRINGE. - Monday March 31st 2014
The Ego Trip are playing Edinburgh Free Fringe this year . Very excited , and we’ll be buzzing before, during and after the event.
The venue is the Ibis Hotel and we’re there 2-9th August. Further details to follow….
GROVE MADNESS..READ ALL ABOUD ITT!!!! - Monday March 31st 2014
North Leeds Life came to the last Grove gig and were blown away…
We’re back on Saturday April 12th , 8.45 pm. £10 entry
… it was heaving last time so get down early to grab a stool.
We’re lined up for another workout in the fields of Avalon.
Last year was a belter.
We ran ourselves ragged again.
Will it rain? Will it fuck!..I don’t care.We’ll be there.
Here’s a review from http://www.wehateyourband.net of Glasto 2013…
If you were at this year’s Glastonbury and failed to catch one of the sixteen Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip gigs you either spent too much time in your tent or were just incredibly unlucky. Kicking off proceedings in the packed out Rabbit Hole at 12pm on Thursday, charismatic Artistik led his band (made up of “dirty boy” Benson Walker on bass and “lord of chord” Johnny Flockton on guitar) through new songs and old, all delivered with his trademark northern charm and wit. The lyrics about window cleaners, stepping in dog turds and buying cheap watches may be far from glamorous (a recurring joke during performances was that Mik was from L.A. – Leeds Armley) but you could relate to their kitchen–sink realism in such a way that made them some of the most memorable heard all weekend. The intervening interaction between the band and the crowd further cemented the bond between them and gave Mik Artistik the upper-hand over the majority of inanimate “jiggy bands” performing elsewhere.
The little free Guardian Guide given to people as they walked into the festival noted that the Arctic Monkeys would be the first band to initiate a crowd singalong during the weekend but I beg to differ – a crammed tent of people singing ‘Sweet Leaf Of The North’ on a Thursday afternoon surely takes the prize
donCASTer this Friday!!!!!! - Saturday February 22nd 2014
Friday evening we ride in to Donny and bring tickles and jabs to CAST .
We hit Brussels on Saturday. Magic city with dodgy cobbles and great baking. Weather was windy but fine and we wandered the centre with a cone of chips each.A sound check at 7pm in a venue that had held the likes of Pink Floyd, Queen, and Art Blakey.
There were 3oo people sitting on rows of blue velvet seats.I gave my self a small punch in the face back stage just to get the blood flowing and then off we roared. They were an attentive , warm and appreciative crowd and we got some lovely feedback at the interval selling 22o euro’s worth of teatowels and c.d’s, plus some twitter and facebook praise.
Boothby Graffoe was great. Relaxed and funny and a gent . David Lemkin the promoter looked after us . It was a belter of a weekend!
Looking forward to another continental show soon.
GROVE, BRUSSELS then ‘CAST’ in DONNY. - Thursday January 23rd 2014
Saturday we’ll be dusting off the gear and heading for the Grove Inn. New landlord but we ‘re hoping it’ll keep it’s battered homely quality.
It’s £8 in and we’re giddy with excitement.
On February 8th we’re on the Eurostar to Brussels to give them a taste of Wortley .The mind boggles!
Then we’re wending our way to Doncaster on February 28th for a gig at CAST the new arts centre featured in the Guardian recently.
We’ll be onstage at 8pm and will shaking ,jiving and pondering for two 45 minute sets.Hope to see thee.
Saturday night in Notting Hill was a rare affair. We went on at 9 pm and proceeded to blast the Tabernacle crowd with some gentle little songs ..”Cycling”, “Bali” and “Rex” interspersed with some rougher stuff ; “Wallet ” and “The lights are on”.
I figured there ‘d be enough punk rocking goin on , with John Cooper Clark, Zodiac Mindwarp, and the Alabama 3 following us so chose some quiet ones.
We went down a treat with an appreciative crowd and got a queue of people wanting cd’s and gear at the end.
Gordon from the Ukelele Orchestra came over and asked to buy all our albums. He gave us £80. Giddy with post gig excitement I managed to loose the envelope with half the fee in .
Great to hear “Fucked by Rock” resounding round the room even though the speakers blew.
Looking forward to treading the boards at Korks in Otley on October 12th!
WE WOW WILDERNESS ! - Wednesday August 14th 2013
Had a splendid time disturbing the punters, stage organisers and security at the Wilderness Festival. A fairly chaotic affair ,not that well organised but a very interesting and gentle place .The pie shop was a highlight..gravy, chips mushy peas.
Tom Hodgkinson gave a great talk on the benefits of idleness and Murray Lachlan Young delivered some inspired poems.
We did seven gigs (fairly low key for us) and there were some belters.I ended up coercing a security woman to join me for a dance much to the audiences approval.We had some lovely messages ,twitters and made lots of new fans .
SUPREME REVIEWED BY NORTHERN WRITER SHOCK HOROR..HOVIS - Wednesday August 14th 2013
I’ve had dealings with Michael Stewart author of “King Crow” already.
He booked me and the lads for a couple of Xmas shows in Bradford ,
and he kindly used my song “Castaway ” for a play he wrote,
To buy a copy of SUPREME (£11.50 inc. U.K.postage ) email me at email@example.com
THUNDER - Thursday May 23rd 2013
Wonderful weekend in Stroud. Heat ,cold , Pizzas from Waitrose and a storming gig. The lads had to head back to Leeds straight after the gig. Trojans! I remained to hang my paper bag portraits on washing lines in the Good shed along with other creative types . Andrew Bailey wandered over to join me at the piano, and we serenaded the crowd with such classics as “Your kids all hate you” and “Happy happy blues”. Sunday I caught a fair bit of Kid Carpet , another interesting man..
Bath Comedy Festival - Thursday April 11th 2013
Four star review from sell -out Bath show. Five Americans flew in specially to see me n the lads!
” Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip are an unlikely musical comedy trio: guitar, bass, and Mik on vocals. It is Mik who does the comedy, the other two providing the expert musical backing in any number of genres. His songs, if that’s what they are, give a very left field view of life from a mainly South Leeds perspective. Raucous paeans to such things as the romantic comforts of the Oxo cube, or the sentimental value of a £3 watch culminated in an extended passionate song of praise to a leaf caught under a windscreen wiper. It takes a particular kind of chutzpah to pull this sort of thing off, but off it was definitively pulled. You had to be there.”
Grovelovethegrovelovethegrovelovethegrove - Friday March 15th 2013
What a bloody night! We arrived at 8.15 at the Grove and there was a crowd all settled in. Ten minutes before kick-off and people were sittin on the floor ,standing..all the seats taken.I wrote “Full!” on the door for’t first time in my career..a lovely feeling. We tried out the new songs and I managed THE I PAD with aplomb. It was an exuberant atmosphere and after a 55 minute first set ..we had a break and then steam rolled on till 5 to midnight.EEEE IT WER GRAND!!!
Bath Comedy Festival - Monday January 21st 2013
Good Friday .. the opening night of BATh COmedy FEst..us again. HURRAY!
LAPP - Monday January 21st 2013
There is a breeze that comes off the laptop.
DVDHDVDHVDVDHVDVDHVDVDVDVDVD - Monday January 21st 2013
NEW DVD OUT IN HD . “MIK ARTISTIK LIVE(s) IN LEEDS”.
My mate Bob and his two buddies had just done a bank advert and had the use of three HD cameras for ‘t weekend. “Have you got a gig tonight Mik?.. We could film it if you want?”
We were playin the Old Modernians Sports Club in Cookridge, Leeds .
Trophy cabinets and the smell of Lynx and egg mayonaise sandwiches.
It wasn’t CBGB’S but I thought “Hell ..it just might work.”
So here it is. Twenty six songs that will take inches off your waist. So..GET FIT, WATCH IT!!!
Price ££13.50 (includes postage and packaging)
simply email firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase a copy
Guardian Grassington blurb - Sunday July 1st 2012
Tim Dowling Bearded Boss Man. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/jun/29/tim-dowling-band-wife-ambitions
LEEDS LIT. FEST Thumbs UP! - Wednesday March 28th 2012
We had a right laugh on the 12th at Salvo’s as part of the Headingley Lit Fest ..and got fed and watered in grand style.They seemed to like us .. http://headingleylitfest.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/mik-artistik-in-salvos-salumeria.html
OBSERVER REVIEW! - Monday February 13th 2012
Great write up about us, from Fiona Banner in the Observer…https://mail.google.com/mail/?tab=wm#inbox/13576f7769da822b
The Leeds Guide: Interview with Mik Artistik - Sunday February 20th 2011
“The artist-musician-comedian talks about his life in Leeds”
Who is Mik Artistik? & Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip now showing at Hyde Park - Friday January 28th 2011
Chances are you’ll recognise Beeston boy turned Armley man Mik Artistik. Maybe you’ve seenhim around Yorkshire drawing on brown paper bags or spotted him throwing straws and syllables at a stunned Glastonbury crowd. His paintings have graced many a gallery wall and his celebrity fans include the likes of Faust, Keith Allen and the Kaiser Chiefs. Dublin Filmmaker Jackie Jarvis’s attempt to commit to film the world of this Leeds legend is charming, poignant, and humourous whether you’re an old friend or a first time greeter of the man himself.
There’s a secret Leeds; oh yes. It’s a Leeds of bygone pubs and underground streets, disappeared signage and long lost shops. There’s also a secret on the Leeds music scene, and it’s a secret that deserves to be spread like a wild rumour around this fair city and beyond.
Mik Artistik is already onto his fourth studio album and although, at 53, he not the springiest of chickens, he’s hatched from an alternative cabaret scene with a mix of punk, poetry and panache that would put many younger, less worldly wise artistes to shame. His stage persona ranges from amiable host to a wild-eyed lunatic, leaping into the audience to humour and scare almost at the same time.
Album Review: SANDMAN - Tuesday August 14th 2007
A mysterious and shadowy figure in the smoky boozers of Leeds these last ten years, performance artist, proper artist and prankster Mik Artistik is rarely forgotten once encountered. Time was his main channel of expression was accosting people in the pub and asking of they wanted their portrait painted. He’s expanded his portfolio considerably these days and this, his third full length CD, is chock full of the usual originals full of surrealism, mystery, back handed poignancy and just plain daftness, or familiar melodies given Mik’s own inimitable makeovers. It’s just Mik on vocals with minimal backing from guitar, mandolin, banjo and bass and everything is intoned in a nasal whine studded with flinty, flat northern vowels.
‘Condoleeza Rice’ is the story of how Mik lumbered his baby daughter with the US politicians “truth is stranger etc” name. ‘Life and soul of the party’ gets revenge on those effortlessly garrulous entertainers at parties by giving them a hollow and empty existence away from the social round. On the other hand, ‘Turning into dad’ may be based on twee cartoon theme ‘Walking in the Air’, but the lyric is the harrowing but hilarious tale of Mik watching himself gradually become his detested Dad as he grows older. Weirdest of all is the 36 second ‘Joyce Grenfell’s teeth’ (exploded in my face!) and the belligerent and sinister updating of George Formby’s millstone in ‘Window Cleaner’. Hugely entertaining, the CD bears repeated plays because the songs often have depth beyond their superficial hilarity. John Cooper Clark used to pull off a similar trick.