Taking part in this year’s Affordable Art Fair in Brussels is artistic duo Alan Stuart and Michael Lake-McMillan, who together make up Dangerous Minds Artists .
Dangerous Minds Artists’ distinctive work constantly reference light, such as through the use of neon signs in their Linear Musings collection. Their practice is also highly dependent on the concept of duality as their works often balance a point, counterpoint dialogue. In balance within their artworks too, is the production fundamentally aesthetically appealing pieces which, on further inspection, also inspire curiosity and cause a ripple of intellectual stimulation.
We talked to Alan and Michael to discover more about their joint projects and artistic influences.
Would you please introduce yourself and briefly talk about your backgrounds and how you both came to collaborate as artists?
We are Alan Stuart and Michael Lake-McMillan and formed Dangerous Minds Artists back in 2014. We both came from creative and artistic backgrounds in fields as diverse and model making, film props, graphic and web design, fashion photography, animatronics, theatrical makeup, scenic painting and set design. Not only that, but we have known each other for many years. It was through the field of high-end events that we saw the potential of collaborating on an artistic front as we both have a similar aesthetic and vision.
How would you describe your style, or the philosophy behind your creations?
Our style has been described as Neo Pop, and we follow a philosophy loosely based on the touchstones of light, beauty in decay, abandonment and antiquated typography.
Could you tell us about your artistic process? Which part of creating an artwork interests you the most?
We find influence from many sources such as our own thought processes, literature, films and found objects. We then start to put ideas together, such as size, color palette, technique, etc. Sometimes we work on new painting techniques by mixing mediums, observing how they repel but harmonize with each other, reflecting the dualistic nature of our studio. Creation is always the best part. Getting stuck in and making something beautiful is always so enjoyable. We do have a near obsessional passion for technique, substrate and finish which we love to explore too.
What inspired you to incorporate neon lighting into your artworks?
Neon has such a romantic and soothing light that we love to work with it. We find it gives a sense of aged decadence to our work, adding transient reflections and changes in colour as the light changes.
The Linear Musing series stemmed from a collection of poems by Michael Scott, entitled, Little Usherette. They delve into a post Lynchian dystopic relationship between a cinema patron and an usherette, the object of his affection.
A narrative symbology is imparted by the stylized neon luminaire, which derive their forms from esoteric symbols and deconstructed graphic references relating to the implied narrative.
How do you want people to feel when they look at your art?
It should be pleasing to look at and bring pleasure to the viewer. But it should also lead you to work out the meaning behind the layers of symbolism, or find your own meaning. It’s great to hear others find a different meaning in our work than we intended. That’s the perfect thing about art, it speaks to each of us in so many different ways.
Thank you Alan and Michael for taking the time to answer our questions!