After nine years of developing his creative practice and building community, Mike Marino passed away unexpectedly in April 2018. Mike was committed to caring for the studio each day. He read rotations and ensured that everyone stayed involved. He worked to ensure that the artists who use our studio are active in decision-making about it. He also consistently used his voice to advocate for human rights. Mike balanced myriad interests and developed them over his years at Arts of Life, including comics, music, technology, and yoga. While Mike was quite a joiner, he also spent an incredible amount of time focused on the development of his practice.
When looking at his art, colors, shapes, and bits of text appear first, but the true center of the work is the characters, the people who he loved. Whether he was mining the studio dynamics, his own family history, or the lives of celebrities, Mike gleaned information from the world, then crafted complex, intricate stories to tell about it. Mike found great joy in life, and that too is evident in his work. His songs “Happy and Proud” and “Brookfield Rap”celebrate and give thanks for the people and places that made him who he was.
“I’m Mike. I’ve been at Arts Of Life for a few years now. I love to draw. Art is fun and it makes me happy. It helps me feel calm. I like to draw comics that have a story behind them about the people that I know. My comics are about Liz, and Kelli Becker, and Emily and Caitlin. I sometimes look on the computer to come up with ideas then I put my ideas on paper with Sharpies. I like Sharpies because it’s a comic technique and it brings out my material. My art is different than others because I tell a story. When I see my artwork, I see that I did a good job. Kelli Becker inspires me because her artwork is 3D and it stands out. I like to watch wrestling, eat at restaurants, and act in plays. I like to do lots of different things and share my life in my art. I’m kind and I live in Oak Park. In the future I’d love to move to Hollywood and do set design.”