Today we’d like to introduce you to Mike Zagorski.
Hi Mike, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
During the pandemic when I was working from home, one day I decided to get back into doing art after not doing any since school 20 years earlier. I bought a canvas, a few colors of paint, some brushes, and started working on a painting of Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing). I painted during lunch, evenings, and weekends for about 30 minutes at a time. I wasn’t in a rush to paint and it took about 5-6 months to complete the painting.
In November of 2020, I was laid off from my job due to the pandemic. I posted my painting on Reddit the same day and by the next morning, it had over 7,000 upvotes. I had people reach out and ask if I had any plans to make prints of it. With losing my job I spring into action and found a local business that would capture (photograph) the work in high resolution and produce giclee prints.
I ended up doing five paintings in 2020, nine in 2021, and currently on track to do 25+ in 2022. I’ve also ventured into putting my work on skateboards, t-shirts, and stickers.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It hasn’t always been a smooth journey… With only one painting completed it was had to persuade people that I was a legitimate artist. I just didn’t have a big enough body of work. There are so many drivers to paint in Formula 1 and it has been a challenge to figure out which driver/team customers want to buy. In the beginning, sales were also sporadic… One week would have lots of orders for prints, then nothing for a few weeks. This has improved over time but was a struggle early on.
Despite watching many Formula 1 races on TV, I still haven’t attended one. I’d love to do that so I can see the cars up close and build on my library of reference material for future paintings.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m an artist that paints automotive subjects using acrylic paint. My style leans towards realism but with a hint of impressionism for background elements. I’ve also become known for painting wet/rain scenes and enjoy the challenge of that versus painting dry scenes which can be harder to give the impression of motion and speed.
Images that include me are by Steve Mohlenkamp. All other images are by me.