“My art mainly deals with the emotional world. Therefore, I don’t paint concrete imagery. All of my paintings are trying to catch an emotional snapshot and aim to evoke a certain feeling in the viewer”. - Mike Dargas
German artist Mike Dargas is known as a pioneer of hyperrealistic painting. In his attempt to capture the innate essence of his subjects, Dargas’ portraits feature exquisite detail and authenticity, possessing an ethereal quality and sense of intimacy which is enhanced by the meticulous craft of his realism. He often depicts his models with liquids being poured onto them, resulting in a poetic and almost seductive effect. Invoking the profound subject studies of canonical artists like Salvador Dali, Dargas makes us reconsider the intricacies of human thought, emotion and feeling.
Mike Dargas was born in Cologne in 1983, where he still lives and works. After having attended art school and being the youngest one to graduate from his class, he started gaining notoriety in the tattoo art scene, claiming numerous awards and prizes for his unique designs. He trained as a carpenter, creating sculptures out of industrial materials such as wood and metal. Dargas cites artists including Salvador Dali, Caravaggio and HR Giger as primary influences, and traces of surrealism and symbolism around the subconscious loom large in his intimate portraits, providing up-close snapshots of the human psyche. He also created a golden portrait of Dali himself in 2019 as a tribute to the famous father of Surrealism.
To achieve a visceral effect in his paintings, he often experiments with various textures like liquid honey or smoke dripping from his subjects’ faces, as exemplified in Nothing Else Matters (2015) or Breathe Me (2017). Dargas uses these techniques to invoke authentic emotion from his subjects, prompting them to be present and react to the sensation naturally in the moment. He then captures every micro-expression and wrinkle with a precise hand that sharpens the final effect of the picturesque. His works have an inherently seductive quality given the tactility and photographic effect evoked by his hyperrealistic style.
With many notable group and solo presentations around Europe and the US, including WHITECONCEPTS (2017) and Ponyhof galleries (2015) Germany, Galerie Atelier I.S. in Belgium (2013), Palau de Casavells (2015) in Spain, C24 Gallery (2017) in New York, Art Angeles in LA (2018) and Maddox Gallery (2019) in the UK, Dargas’ works are also included in prestigious private collections around the world.
Now represented by Maddox Gallery and expanding the limits of portraiture, Dargas aims to capture the true essence of his subjects’ character, which radiates from his canvases with mesmerizing intensity, drawing the viewer in. His works have an atemporal, transcendental quality that celebrates human spirit, beauty and individuality across the ages.