An Interview With Mike Mooney
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me this week! Please tell the readers about yourself and the work you do.
Mike Mooney: Hi Aaron, thank you for having me. It’s a real honor to be talking with you.
During the day, I am a full-time marketing manager, and at night and on weekends, I pursue my passions as an artist, illustrator, and picture book author. If you visit mimoart.com, you will see that I work in many mediums; however, over the past few years, I have focused on acrylic paints when painting, pen and ink, and watercolor paints when creating artwork for my picture books.
A new medium I have been working with is Adobe Procreate to create digital illustrations. It’s been fun learning a new medium and adding another tool to my artist’s box.
It is nice to meet you! How long have you been making art? How did you get your start?
Mike Mooney: I have been making art as long as I can remember but started really diving deeper in high school and college. I get my creative brain from my mother. She has a great eye for photography and is super creative. I remember, from a young age, she enabled me to explore the arts and never deterred me from pursuing any of my interests.
You hear stories from people saying that their parents had a negative impact on their life by pushing them into a career they didn’t want, like going to be a lawyer or a doctor when they wanted to be an actor or musician or artist. My parents encouraged me to explore all the possibilities in life, and I am grateful for that.
Art and business take a lot of time and energy. What do you do to stay productive?
Mike Mooney: Most of my time is already accounted for working a full-time job. So, I need to be strategic with my time. My mind is constantly flowing with ideas, so I created a system for prioritizing my current and future projects. That said, I am creative, and I do allow inspiration to come to the surface and run with it. There is just nothing better than being in the flow. I tried to spend most of my time being in the flow state.
What are your biggest obstacles when it comes to making art? How do you overcome them?
Mike Mooney: The biggest obstacle I run into is what mentioned amount ago, time. I have lots of ideas and multiple projects going simultaneously. Because of this, I need to focus my efforts on the tasks that will move my project(s) closer to completion.
Outside of making artwork, what do you do for fun?
Mike Mooney: When I am not painting, drawing, or writing, I am spending my time with family and friends, playing with my dog, time in the garden, and learning about growing vegetables, reading, and time at the ocean. It’s important to step away from the studio to relax and breathe. All experiences provide inspiration, whether it’s conscious or not, and help me when I am back in the studio creating.
How do you foster your own creativity? Do you work at it, or wait for inspiration to strike?
Mike Mooney: Creativity is like a flywheel for me. The more creative projects I work on, the more ideas I have, and it’s a wonderful cycle. That said, when I am writing, I do have to work at it. Teasing out the story for a picture book from my main idea is more difficult for me than creating the illustrations; however, I find that process is getting easier for me to write the more I sit at the computer and write.
I received another reminder that I need to keep the flywheel moving this year. I took a year or so off from painting while I worked on my second picture book called Pink, which I really wanted to finish. I finished that book and had a request for a painting. Taking a year off of painting, it felt so good to be painting again that I set up a few more canvases and started working on some personal paintings. What I found was that my creative juices were lacking, and I was struggling to move the paintings forward. That said, the more I went into the studio to paint, the more the ideas kept coming.
Do you ever have performance/release anxiety when putting out new work? If so, what do you do about it?
Mike Mooney: No, I don’t get anxiety over sharing my final pieces. I think the reason why is because:
- When I release a new creation, I know I love it and makes me happy, and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters to me and
- Art is subjective, and I know not everyone will like everything I create, and that’s ok.
What advice can you give to people who want to start making their own art?
Mike Mooney: Open up your calendar and block off 15, 30 mins, or an hour every day that is dedicated to your creative habit.
Pick up a pencil, paintbrush, musical instrument, or computer, and start creating. If you like it, yay, keep it. If you hate it, scrap it and do it again or create something else. The hardest part is starting. And the best thing you can do is make creating art a habit.
If you are looking for inspiration, get Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art. It’s a must-read for all creatives!
Do you have any upcoming events or releases you would like to discuss?
Mike Mooney: I have a few new releases:
I recently finished a painting of a Jellyfish, and I am going to be creating a series of them to share in the future.
View Mimo’s jellyfish wall art here.
Get your Jellyfish prints here.
I also completed a pen and ink drawing with a Chess subject matter titled: The War of Art. You can read all about this drawing and the parallels of creating art and what goes through the mind of a chess player.
View Mimo’s chess drawing here.
New chess art prints can be found here.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me this week. Where can the readers find you and your work?
Check Out Mike Mooney!
A huge thank you to Mike Mooney for taking the time to chat with us this week. Make sure to check out Mike’s art at the following locations: