Mike Bainter is not a painter, well at least not in the most traditional sense. Then what, you ask, is his medium? Well that is just what caught my interest first when I discovered his works. I asked myself, what medium exactly is the artist employing here? His psychedelic tinged work is striking in that way and many others. Having had a chance to sit down and talk with the artist from Eclectic, Alabama, I now realize that his process is somewhat complex, somewhat secretive, and definitely an eclectic mixture of mediums.
Mike’s following is growing fast as his newest techniques and approach to fishing art is evolving. He is a self-taught artist and has received a degree in graphic design at Trenholm State Technical College with mentor, Professor Spencer Arington. He is heavily influenced by many artists from different mediums but most by photographer, Sam Root and artist, Steve Gione (Wilmington, NC), whose watercolor and stippling techniques have always intrigued him. A former USCG licensed captain, Mike now focuses his time on fishing and his artwork, a unique blend of classical drawing and painting blended with state of the art computer techniques.
Having grown up between Pensacola and Lake Martin, Bainter got exposure to both freshwater and saltwater fisheries, experiencing “the best of both worlds” and much of that dual exposure is evident in his works. “I do more saltwater fishing but I love bass fishing. I am a diehard top-water and plastics guy when it comes to bass fishing. But, my favorite species to go out and chase would have to be redfish and snook.” When Mike tells me about some of his best fishing experiences, I hear the tone of his voice change. He excitedly describes the 54” Redfish he caught 50 yards from shore in Texas. Like many of us, he is possessed by the sport. “When I do my artwork, I am trying to incorporate things that I have experience with and at the same time, I try to give the people an opportunity to enjoy the things that I have been lucky enough to enjoy as a fisherman.”
Mike is a super friendly guy and is forthcoming when it comes to just about everything you want to discuss. The only thing that I found him slightly guarded with was certain components of his process. You see, he developed his own very unique process and that creates much of the originality found in his works. He explains the process:
“Sometimes I start out with a simple sketch. Some of the artwork is actual drawings that I physically did. I put them into my computer. When I was in school, I learned how to do some digital painting and by using different tools and making my own brushes, I have created something that is a little different… Knowing how to blend colors from my hand drawn artwork, using a lot of stippling or pointillism with paint and colored pencil… well I try to take those same techniques and apply them to what I am doing on the computer. It gives my artwork on the computer a unique look about it. I have tools I use to help emphasize certain things, I do color overlays and build palettes from actual photographs so I can get the right color combinations.”
The result is something totally original with a really fresh style. “Tailin’ The Flatz”, “Silver Bullet” and “Dorado Blue” have a very iconic look to them, married with Mike’s drippy psychedelic flavorings, while “Screaming Drags”, “Prowler” and “Ambush” make you feel right in that underwater environment with these incredibly imposing characters. You are in their world and it feels otherworldly. One thing unique to all of Bainter’s works is the emotion captured within each one. Some take a more realistic run while others are more impressionistic. Much of this variety and risk taking can be attributed to Mike’s instructor and mentor, Spencer Arington. Bainter explains, “He was always pushing me to (explore) outside of my box and try new things… even if it wasn’t something that was taught, that it could be explored.” It is this approach that has led Mike Bainter to this point in his artistic experience. We are proud to present these works and encourage our readers to seek out Mike’s future works. With Professor Arington’s words echoing in Mike’s mind, who knows what the future holds for this most innovative artist?
Follow Mike Bainter on Facebook: www.facebook.com/fishtailgraphics
Contact Mike directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org