As a child drawing cartoons and skateboard graphics, Mike Egan expressed an ever-present interest in skeletons and devils. Later in life, his fascination with mortality led to a career working in funeral homes, where he was constantly surrounded by death and mourning. This immersion into he most intimate and painful moments of life had a lasting influence on Egan’s acrylic paintings on panel. He started painting not only the stories of those who have passed, but the stories of those left behind after one's passing; the mourners, the lovers, the hurt and the relieved. His works are visual anecdotes; capturing sepulchral moments in time, presented to the viewer with whimsy and wit.
Hailing from the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Egan recalls a fascination with both art and with death, from a young age. A few years after receiving his B.F.A. from Edinboro University, his peculiar interests led Mike to attend the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science and to become an embalmer and funeral director. All the while continuing to paint, Mike developed a unique style that incorporated his surroundings, as well as his other influences: folk art, Day of the Dead, horror films, religion, Halloween and German Expressionism. Since 2006, Mike Egan has shown his work in galleries throughout America, Germany and the UK.
The new paintings Egan created for I Saw You at My Funeral are a look at his continued obsession with the idea of life and death. In light of recent world events and the way they are portrayed by the media, the subject matter is more important to him now than ever before. “There are so many tragic shootings and acts of violence in the world and it is constantly spoon fed to us through the media. These paintings act as a reminder to me that there are so many people to say ‘goodbye’ to, and that we must not forget them.”
Matthew Rachman Gallery Website